November 10, 1992            HOUSE OF ASSEMBLY PROCEEDINGS          Vol. XLI  No. 61

The House met at 2:00 p.m.

MR. SPEAKER (Lush): Order, please!

Oral Questions

MR. SPEAKER: The hon. the Leader of the Opposition.

MR. SIMMS: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

Mr. Speaker, yesterday, in response to questions asked by my colleague, the Member for Fogo, the Minister of Employment and Labour Relations said that the 22 per cent unemployment rate for October was, and I quote: 'just another piece of information that allows us to verify that there are problems and that we are still looking at them.' Now, Mr. Speaker, from October, 1990 to October, 1991 we lost 7,000 jobs; from October, 1991 to October of this year, we lost another 14,000 jobs, that is 21,000 in only two years, not counting I suggest, the jobs lost in the cod moratorium area, contrary to what the minister says. I want to ask the minister: When is this minister and when is this government going to stop looking and start doing something?

MR. SPEAKER: The hon. the Minister of Employment and Labour Relations.

MR. GRIMES: Thank you very much, Mr. Speaker.

I appreciate the question because it is a matter that deserves some public attention.

I want to point out that while these numbers, when stated boldly as just raw numbers and not put into any context, seem to be severe and drastic, when you look back to even 1984 and 1985, these numbers, at that point in time, where we were not into any kind of a recession, are not unusual compared to what happened then. If you want to take a statistic and use statistics for whatever political purpose, the unemployment rate in the Province at that time, when we were supposed to be at a fairly good economic point, was well over 24 per cent.

Back in 1981-1982, the numbers were higher than they are now and we had the same kind of recession going on in the country and in the Province, but it wasn't compounded by almost the total closure and downturn in the fishery. At that time we were dealing with a similar set of circumstances economically in the country and in the Province but with a fishery that was recording high fish landings and fairly high levels of employment. It is only because of the good management, the good practices followed by this government that the recession has not had a more severe impact in the Province and everybody in the Province understands that.

MR. SPEAKER: The hon. the Leader of the Opposition.

MR. SIMMS: Mr. Speaker, if it wasn't so serious it would almost be laughable, Mr. Speaker. The minister suggests also - and, by the way, we are not talking about 1981-1982 or 1983-1984, we are talking about 1992, and the people out there are concerned about 1992-1993, that is the concern. Yesterday, he made some suggestions - I think he implied that the Stats Canada figures are wrong, because they did include people who were also involved in the cod moratorium and they continue to show up in the stats. That is what he was suggesting yesterday.

Now, first of all, the minister would have to be very happy that there is a package available for people affected by the cod moratorium. Otherwise, the unemployment rate would probably be over 30 per cent in this Province; I am sure he would agree with that.

Now, either people are working or they are not working, Mr. Speaker. I am asking the minister today, would he stop trying to explain away the problem, as he did yesterday and as he now is doing, and will he start trying to solve the problem rather than try to explain it away? When is he going to wake up to the reality that we have lost 21,000 jobs in this Province in just over the past two years and his government have done absolutely nothing about it? When is he going to change that?

MR. SPEAKER: The hon. the Minister of Employment and Labour Relations.

MR. GRIMES: Thank you again, Mr. Speaker, to point out that some of the information again as I indicated in the earlier response, if you want to take a raw number and use it out of context, it can be shown to try to mean anything. Twenty-one thousand jobs in two years is not an accurate number. If you track back over the two years and so on, there is no indication, for example, that the 14,000 this year are on top of another 7,000 from a previous year and so on. When you look at it, it talks about year to year comparisons and those types of things. You can have your own people go back and check their stats again and check the numbers and see what happens, and if they want to go and sit with the people in the economic research divisions and the people who do research for our government, they are welcome to do so if they want to get some real legitimate information with which to use.

I understand, as well, Mr. Speaker, that while the Leader of the Opposition wouldn't want to talk about 1981-1982 or 1984-1985 and those types of things, it has to be put into that kind of context if people are to know that, in fact, this government has done a very good job in terms of trying to make sure that things are not much worse as they are in most other provinces of Canada. The impact over the last two years of recession, both in job losses and unemployment numbers, has been significantly worse in other provinces of Canada, including so-called rich and 'have' provinces like in Ontario, Alberta, and British Columbia, than they have been in Newfoundland and Labrador.

MR. SPEAKER: The hon. the Leader of the Opposition, on a supplementary.

MR. SIMMS: Mr. Speaker, I guess the minister is saying, in essence, that things aren't that bad, and I have to tell him that the people out around the Province just cannot agree with that kind of a conclusion. Now, not only have we lost 21,000 jobs over the last two years - and these figures are accurate figures and the minister knows it even though he might want to whitewash it as much as he can. The next thing, he will be telling us we didn't have another 11,000 people leave the workforce, that we haven't got 20,000 more people on social assistance since this government came to office, even though his own minister confirmed it the other day, and that this is the same government whose leader promised to bring every mother's son home from the mainland and provide jobs for them. I want to ask the minister this question - yesterday he said things were not as disastrous. Today he said the same thing. In fact, yesterday's quote was: 'We are dealing with it.' That is what he said yesterday in Hansard.

I want to ask him, if he doesn't think this is a disaster, what might be a disaster? But what is it exactly they are doing to deal with it? That is what the people of the Province want to know. What can they expect to see from this government in the next year, for example, in the way of jobs? Do you have any plans at all to address the serious situation that this Province is in right now?

MR. SPEAKER: The hon. the Minister of Employment and Labour Relations.

MR. GRIMES: Thank you again, Mr. Speaker.

It has been pointed out by a number of people responding on this side of the House to similar types of questions from members of the Opposition, that this government, even though we are now in the middle of a short-term Emergency Employment Response program that is providing close to 4,000 jobs today that were not there unless an action of the government was taken, that we have told the people of the Province consistently that we do not believe that kind of short-term government intervention is the answer.

We have spelled out that, in fact, by doing everything we can over a period of time, and taking into account the circumstances of the day, we will try to make sure that everybody is on side with us in creating a climate whereby there can be the proper levels of investment and economic activity in the Province so that people can get jobs outside of the public sector.

Within the public sector, and with monies directly taken from people through taxation, we continue to provide the services that are necessary and must be made available, and we employ the number of people required to do that at a standard that will make sure the people are not disadvantaged. All of that, though, has to be done, and will continue to be done, recognizing the economic realities of the days in which we live.

MR. SPEAKER: The hon. the Leader of the Opposition.

MR. SIMMS: A final supplementary, Mr. Speaker, to pursue this line of questioning with the minister.

I am intrigued by his thoughts, his philosophical thoughts, I guess. He is really mouthing the philosophy of the Premier when he talks about: We don't believe in short-term efforts and so on - even though they have done it over the last couple of years.

I want to ask him: Does he consider a government that has been in power now for nearly four years, to be dealing with it in the long-term or in the short-term? Is three-and-a-half, almost four years now, long-term or short-term? The bottom line is, the government has done nothing in almost four years. That is the point that people out around the Province are making.

MR. SPEAKER: The hon. the Minister of Employment and Labour Relations.

MR. GRIMES: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

Exactly the contrary is true, and we will probably have to produce the numbers here again to show that through the initiatives of this government in the last three-and-a-half years, targeted at longer term, full-time attachment to the labour force with a new program that was introduced by this government to concentrate on providing opportunities through wage subsidies to private sector employers who would like to hire people rather than to give them money in the short-term and so on, that with those kinds of initiatives, as I pointed out in the House in a statement a week or so ago when the House first opened, even in this year alone we're approaching the 2,000 mark in terms of people who are in the work force with some assistance from the government through a wage subsidy program, one of three programs offered through this particular department, that has provided for long-term attachment to the workforce that otherwise wouldn't be there.

Every report that we have in terms of assessment of those programs is people reporting to us that that is the right approach, and that those kinds of things will stand everybody in better stead for the long run than the short-term types of things that we are doing now out of total necessity, but recognising that we're not meeting the full need, and have nowhere close to the financial and fiscal capacity to meet the full need just out of government sources.

MR. SPEAKER: The hon. the Member for Harbour Main.

MR. DOYLE: Thank you, Mr. Speaker. I have a question for the Environment Minister. The minister has often said that government will come to a decision on the application of North American Resource Recovery to put an incinerator at Long Harbour to dispose of imported American garbage when a proposal has been received by the government and when a proposal has been made by the company. Has a proposal yet been submitted to the government by the company?

MR. SPEAKER: The hon. the Minister of Environment and Lands.

MS. COWAN: Mr. Speaker, no such submission has been received.

MR. SPEAKER: The hon. the Member for Harbour Main.

MR. DOYLE: Supplementary, Mr. Speaker. North American Resource Recovery has made it no secret that they intend to establish such a facility at Long Harbour - that they want to establish a facility there. Can the minister maybe expand upon that and tell us the current status of the proposal? Does she expect to receive a proposal? Is the company still interested? Have they been in touch with the minister or any of her officials, or any department of government?

MR. SPEAKER: The hon. the Minister of Environment and Lands.

MS. COWAN: I have heard nothing from them as Minister of Environment at all. I think it's been six or seven months now since I first started to hear about this and there has still been nothing. I do believe that some officials did meet with the Premier, is that correct?... at one point recently. Maybe a couple of months ago.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: (Inaudible)!

MR. SPEAKER: The hon. the Member for Harbour Main.

MR. DOYLE: Can the minister tell us if the proposal, when it is received, and when it goes to an environmental review, can she tell us approximately how much it will cost for an environmental review? I'm just wondering: hasn't the government yet gotten the message that the people of Newfoundland do not want this particular project with or without an environmental assessment? Why doesn't the minister do what the people of Newfoundland have indicated they want, and give this proposal a decent burial? Or is the government going to forge ahead, if a proposal is received, against the overwhelming opposition of the people of the Province?

MR. SPEAKER: The hon. the Minister of Environment and Lands.

MS. COWAN: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

I do not have a crystal ball. Sometimes it would be an advantage, I must admit, other times it would not be. So, I have no idea if this group plans to submit. I only know what I read in the newspapers.

Now, over the summer the flow of letters regarding the proposed proposal from Long Harbour dissipated. There were a number I received before, not from people all over the Island and Labrador but from very concentrated areas, largely from St. John's, some from classrooms where teachers were doing assignments on the environment. Since September, I believe, I have had one letter. So I am not sure if the citizens of this Province have spoken or not, Mr. Speaker, but certainly if an environmental assessment process ever does come about they will indeed be consulted and listened to with care.

MR. SPEAKER: The hon. the Member for Kilbride.

MR. R. AYLWARD: Thank you very much, Mr. Speaker.

I have a question for the Premier, Mr. Speaker. I have noticed for some time now that there is a sign in all the elevators restricting access to floors nine and ten. I believe that is the way it reads.

Mr. Speaker, could the Premier confirm that there are renovations going on on floors nine and ten, were there tenders called for these renovations, and does he have any idea what these renovations will cost the Province?

MR. SPEAKER: The hon. the Premier.

PREMIER WELLS: Mr. Speaker, these are renovations that were all part of the plan that the former government had in place, including the construction of this Chamber. All of these renovations to the building were part of it. In fact, one of the things we decided first was whether or not we could stop the construction. We took a look at it and they advised us that the contracts, having been let, for this Chamber, for example, it would have cost more to stop the construction than to proceed with it. So we proceeded.

Also, as you will recall, they ran a new reinforcement wall all the way up through. The Cabinet room is a firetrap, so they tell us, it does not comply with the standards. There is only one narrow stair access that went up by the stairwell. They are putting in a second access. They took corners out of all of the floors all the way up through and ran a proper fire exit stairwell all the way up to the tenth or eleventh floor. They took a corner of my office and broke into that, and they're now running a separate elevator from the seventh floor to the eleventh. All of those things were all in train and the arrangements all made and we've continued with it.

Mr. Speaker, we perhaps should eliminate any that we can and we're looking seriously at that now - eliminating anything that we can possibly avoid doing at this stage. But these things were all in progress and we let them continue on.

MR. SPEAKER: The hon. the Member for Kilbride.

MR. R. AYLWARD: Mr. Speaker, the Premier looked at this to stop it and he found that he couldn't do it. But he could have stopped these renovations up there if he wished to, but he decided to go ahead with them.

Renovations are also going ahead on the eleventh floor, as the Premier said. That floor was only renovated several years ago, in my time, that I was there. Could the Premier tell us what is the cost of the re-renovations of the eleventh floor, Mr. Speaker, and is that done under a separate contract? Or is it a part of the ninth and tenth floor?

MR. SPEAKER: The hon. the Premier.

PREMIER WELLS: The renovations to the eleventh floor are also part of the fire renovations that had to take place - the stairwell, the access to it, the elevator access. It's being refurbished, the whole chamber, because it's going to become, I expect, a permanent Cabinet room now that the stairwell is in proper place.

As to whether tenders were called I'll check and make sure, but I have every confidence that the Public Tender Act was met. I can't imagine that we would have been proceeding without the calling of tenders. So I'm operating on the assumption that they were but I will ask the minister to take the question under advisement and we'll provide the information to the House.

MR. SPEAKER: The hon. the Member for Kilbride.

MR. R. AYLWARD: Mr. Speaker, the Premier just confirmed that not only are there safety renovations going on to the eleventh floor, but the floor that was already done -

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

The hon. member is on a supplementary and should ask the question.

MR. R. AYLWARD: - is being re-renovated for a Cabinet room.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: (Inaudible)!

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

All hon. members know that on supplementary questions there's supposed to be no preamble. In any event, members are falling into the habit of commenting on answers and debating them. That's not supposed to happen. Hon. members know that. So I ask the hon. member to ask the question.

MR. R. AYLWARD: Thank you very much, Mr. Speaker. Will the Premier confirm that besides the ninth and tenth floor, which were in the plans for this building, the eleventh floor, which is getting a re-modelling, which was only done a few years ago, for a new cabinet room, will the Premier also confirm that the eighth floor, the deluxe suite of offices that were there when the Premier came into office, are being renovated to become a super deluxe suite of offices? Will the Premier confirm that there is some $70,000 worth of wallpaper, the majority of it going in his office? There is hardware for doors. At least one door, the hardware will cost some $600 for a doorknob and a few hinges. Are all these a part of the contracts that the Premier is talking about? Or are the eighth floor renovations a separate contract between the ninth and tenth floor? Or are the renovations to the Premier's office hidden away in the other contracts, Mr. Speaker?

MR. SPEAKER: The hon. the Premier.

PREMIER WELLS: I won't confirm any of the things that he suggested, Mr. Speaker, but I'll tell the House what in fact is happening, if the House is interested.

As I indicated, they were putting up a separate stairwell, so we lost an entire office in the corner and part of my secretary's office. Other parts of the building, the access to the elevator that will go by, that had to be done. There was a little meeting room where people who would come to see the Premier had to meet. No windows, no light, just a little cubbyhole. Anybody who's ever met in there knows if you have more than two people in it, it becomes an insufferable circumstance. There are times when there are anywhere from six to fifteen people meeting with the Premier, and I have to have a place to meet.

So, Mr. Speaker, we've provided for a meeting room that's now been largely done. That renovation is being done. It's necessitated renovating the whole central corridor. The whole of the floor has really been restructured in that sense. They're refurbishing the Premier's office. To call it deluxe, I call it - well, I'm hesitant to say what I call it. I couldn't even read in there, the light was so bad, with the bamboo ceiling that somebody had put in, I mean, it was just totally -

AN HON. MEMBER: They used it to grow cucumbers (Inaudible).

MR. SPEAKER: The hon. the Member for Kilbride.

MR. SIMMS: (Inaudible) the bamboo curtain that Joey had for Valdmanis -

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

The Chair has recognised the Member for Kilbride.

MR. R. AYLWARD: Thank you very much, Mr. Speaker.

Will the Premier confirm that the chairs that are now being ordered for his meeting room, I believe, through a Newfoundland company, will cost approximately $3,000 a chair? And does the Premier really think that he had the power to stop these renovations in these hard times when there is a 50 per cent increase in social services - 20,000 less people working in this Province? We have a closure in our fishery - that he could not have put off these renovations until things got a bit better in our Province, so that he would not be creating for himself a superdeluxe suite of offices which had only been renovated less than five or six years ago?

MR. SPEAKER: The hon. the Premier.

Order, please!

PREMIER WELLS: Mr. Speaker, on reflection, if I had known that the circumstances would continue to be so difficult for so long, and the recession would have persisted for so long, and the effects of the fishery - if I had known and foreseen all of those things, I probably would have tried to stop the contracts and stop the renovation that was in place.

The safety features of it would be difficult to stop, because you have to consider the lives of the people who work there; but it may well be that with hindsight I may well have tried to stop some of the other things. As a matter of fact, I have given some instructions now to take a look at what remains in the schedule of renovations that was originally developed for this building, as to what remains to be done and whether or not we can stop some of those and allow the building to function safely without going through with those renovations.

Mr. Speaker, we cut out the things that we knew were totally wasteful and unnecessary. The $75,000 that it cost to run the Premier's private dining room, where he entertained people - we cut all of that out. I run and operate the office from my office. I do not run a suite of dining rooms where I have stores of liquor and cigarettes and cigars and so on in there. I will produce the invoices if people want to see it, and want to see the cost of it. I have cut that out, and we hope we will be able to run this building in a reasonably satisfactory way, and have reasonably presentable accommodation for people when they come to meet the Premier. If you have six or eight or ten people, you need to have reasonable accommodation, and we are putting that in place. I suppose there is nothing wrong with doing that in these circumstances.

MR. SPEAKER: The hon. the Member for St. John's East.

MR. HARRIS: Thank you, Mr. Speaker. My question is for the Minister of Education, concerning student aid.

Does the minister know that hundreds and perhaps thousands of students are unable to register for the winter semester courses at Memorial University because of this government's student aid policies? They have not paid their current fall tuition fees because they have not had their appeals heard from student aid, and therefore they cannot get their money. How many students have their appeals now outstanding; and can the minister tell us whether or not he has instructed the departmental officials not to release this information to the public or to MHA's?

MR. SPEAKER: The hon. the Minister of Education.

MR. DECKER: No to the first question, Mr. Speaker. I am not aware of hundreds of thousands of students.

The second part of the question I will certainly take under advisement, to get the precise number of people who are having appeals.

The third question, no, I have not instructed anyone not to release the information.

MR. SPEAKER: The hon. the Member for St. John's East, a supplementary.

MR. HARRIS: So if the minister does not know, he should find out; but he should also know that the appeals process is in a disastrous state because of his policies. I will ask him whether he knows that the root of the problem is his department's policy of assuming that any student who works in the summertime makes at least $2,000 and giving them student aid accordingly.

Why does the minister not tell students that they will assess your need based on your actual income, and give it out accordingly, instead of forcing students to appeal, and hundreds and thousands of them are forced to appeal each year. It is now the middle of November, they still have not got their money for the Fall and they are in dire straits. Why doesn't the minister do something about that?

MR. SPEAKER: The hon. the Minister of Education.

MR. DECKER: Mr. Speaker, there is not a whole lot that any provincial minister can do about that. There are guidelines which are in the Student Aid Program which are dictated by the Student Loans Program, which is a federal program basically, that we administer. One of the guidelines states that a student who is single and away from home and working must have a certain percentage of his money saved. There is a different allowance made for a student who stays at home and works.

I have to agree with the hon. member, that the assumption is there that a student who works will save some money and their loan has to be processed based on that. Sometimes when there is an appeal, there are extenuating circumstances as to why a student didn't save 40 per cent, and hopefully that is picked up. But I have to admit that it is a long, drawn out process, Mr. Speaker. But on the other hand, 10,000 people descended on the student loans office in a period of about a month and I would challenge any bank in this country to deal with 10,000 applications in such a short time period and not have some problems, Mr. Speaker.

MR. SPEAKER: The hon. the Member for St. John's East.

MR. HARRIS: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

Why doesn't the minister monitor the situation with student appeals more closely, and why is he not aware of the hundreds and thousands of students who are, every day, trying to get an answer from his department as to whether they are going to get their cheque? Why is he not on top of that?

MR. SPEAKER: The hon. the Minister of Education.

MR. DECKER: Mr. Speaker, I said I am not aware of the hundreds of thousands of students who are having problems with student loans. I was frankly being facetious because the reality is there are only 18,000 all over Newfoundland and Labrador attending university and other schools. So there are not hundreds of thousands of people having trouble. That is why I said I am not aware of it, Mr. Speaker, and if I have to spell it out for the hon. member I will. The reality is there is a problem, and I am quite willing to admit it. The actual number, Mr. Speaker, I don't carry that around in my head. If the hon. member wants a society where ministers make decisions about who is going to be appealed, who is going to get loans and all this sort of thing, he is not talking about an educational system that is arms's-length from government, he is talking about political interference into the educational system, Mr. Speaker, and I will have no part of that and this administration will have no part of that.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

MR. SPEAKER: The hon. the Member for Humber East.

MS. VERGE: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

Mr. Speaker, I have a question for the Premier. Is the Premier telling people that it is only right and proper for a man who needed a $50,000 a year salary supplement to be Leader of the Opposition to have hundreds of thousands of dollars of the peoples' money spent to redecorate his suite of offices so that he doesn't have to put up with 1986 style with the bamboo ceiling, but so that he could have 1992 designer, decorator, high fashion colours -

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

Would the hon. member get on with the question?

MS. VERGE: - and wall paper and door fittings?

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

MS. VERGE: Is that what the Premier is saying?

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

I remind hon. members that when the Speaker stands there is supposed to be silence, and the Speaker's decisions about Question Period are not to be appealed.

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. SPEAKER: Yes, silence.

MR. SIMMS: Not silent.

MR. SPEAKER: Yes, silent.

Would somebody get Sir Erskine May for me, please, page 180, and I shall quote it for the hon. Leader of the Opposition.

Hon. members know that when they are asking a question the preamble is supposed to be short, and the hon. member was rather lengthy on the preamble.

The hon. the Premier.

PREMIER WELLS: I would like to answer all aspects of the question raised.

The necessity that I would have a $50,000 supplement to my salary as Leader of the Opposition, most of which was made necessary because the government in which she was the Attorney General and Mr. Peckford was the Premier kept the people of this Province waiting for six months and wouldn't call the by-election after the Member for Windsor - Buchans resigned, in order to prevent me from having any income. I hope she is proud of that democratic approach. I hope all hon. members opposite are equally proud of the fact that the Member for Windsor - Buchans resigned in June of 1987 and they waited until December to call the election.

Now, Mr. Speaker, maybe they will examine their own selves and see what all of this relates to.

Mr. Speaker, let me answer the second aspect of the question: No, Mr. Speaker, it was not just the bamboo ceiling, it was the fact that the bamboo did not let any light through it. You could not read in there, you could not see. It was like a dungeon. Now maybe, if all you did was smoke cigars all day long, that is okay.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

MR. SPEAKER: Question Period has expired.

Reading from Sir Erskine May, page 180. I am just taking a section from it. This is Erskine May, the 21st edition. It says, talking about the Speaker: "When he rises to preserve order or to give a ruling on a doubtful point he must always be heard in silence ...".

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. SPEAKER: Yes, be heard in silence.

Presenting Reports by

Standing and Special Committees

MR. SPEAKER: The hon. the Minister of Industry, Trade and Technology.

MR. FUREY: Mr. Speaker, I would like to table the annual report for Enterprise Newfoundland and Labrador, pursuant to the Act.

Notices of Motion

MR. SPEAKER: The hon. the Minister of Employment and Labour Relations.

MR. GRIMES: Mr. Speaker, I give notice that I will on tomorrow ask leave to introduce a bill entitled, "An Act To Amend The Occupational Health and Safety Act."

Orders of the Day

MR. ROBERTS: Motions 1 through 4 to begin, please, Mr. Speaker.

MR. SPEAKER: Motions 1 through 4.

Motion, the hon. the Minister of Finance to introduce a bill, "An Act To Amend The Gasoline Tax Act," carried. (Bill No. 49).

Motion, the hon. the Minister of Finance to introduce a bill, "An Act To Abolish Certain Fees," carried. (Bill No. 51).

Notion, the hon. the Minister of Finance to introduce a bill, "An Act To Amend The Financial Corporations Capital Tax Act," carried. (Bill No. 52).

Motion, the hon. the Minister of Justice to introduce a bill, " An Act To Amend The Residential Tenancies Act," carried. (Bill No. 50).

On motion, Bills No. 49, 51, 52 and 50 read a first time, ordered read a second time on tomorrow.

MR. ROBERTS: Mr. Speaker, Order 6: the adjourned debate on the Avian Emblem Bill.

MR. SPEAKER: Order 6.

MR. ROBERTS: The hon. the Member for Grand Bank adjourned the debate, but I gather he doesn't wish to resume the floor, Mr. Speaker.

MR. SPEAKER: The hon. the Member for Burin - Placentia West.

MR. TOBIN: Mr. Speaker, I want to have a few words on this piece of legislation, as well. As my colleague from Grand Bank pointed out yesterday, while no one disagrees with the fact that it is nice to have a symbol and it is nice for the puffin to receive the type of recognition that has been proposed, it is unfortunate that at this time with the economic conditions of this Province as they are and with this House in session for just a few days, that the major piece of legislation, the incentive that the government brings forth to try to do something for the economic conditions of this Province is nothing but to bring the puffin in as the official bird of the Province.

AN HON. MEMBER: Can you eat it?

MR. TOBIN: Mr. Speaker, we all know the condition of this Province. We have seen it day-in-and-day-out. We have seen the minister - and we have the Leader of the Opposition asking questions about 21,000 less people working in this Province today, and yet, the only bit of initiative that we see coming from the government is the puffin act. Now, what is that going to do to put bread and butter on the tables of men and women who are unemployed? What is that going to do for the 21,000 Newfoundlanders that this Minister of Employment and Labour Relations couldn't care less about, who skates around, who does nothing for the people of this Province? - 21,000 - as pointed out by the Leader of the Opposition today - less men and women in this Province working in the last two years than the year prior to that and yet government gives us the puffin act.

Now, why is that such an important issue? After six days in this House - with men and women starving, with wind blowing through houses, with snow beating in through windows, people without doors to their homes and the government not giving a cent of money to alleviate the problems with their homes that are being experienced by people on social assistance, Mr. Speaker - there is not a piece of legislation here dealing with economic conditions, dealing with the social problems facing people who are on social assistance today, yet we have the puffin act coming before this Legislature. You can go through this inside out and upside down, there is not one piece of legislation to address the needs of the people in this Province who are unemployed.

There is not one piece of legislation, there is not one feather from a puffin that is going to be able to prevent the wind and the rain from beating into the home of a woman from my constituency who wrote me a letter today which I forwarded on to the Minister of Social Services. There is not one wing from a puffin -

AN HON. MEMBER: Table it.

MR. TOBIN: Yes, I will table it. I just might table the letter, Mr. Speaker. The puffin act will do nothing for the people for whom Newfoundland and Labrador Housing Corporation are responsible. You fired thirty-seven people last week. There were thirty-seven people fired by Newfoundland and Labrador Housing Corporation -twenty-seven people fired and ten jobs made redundant, and not one wing, Mr. Speaker, a puffin would not keep their families going for one day, not one day would they survive on a puffin. And all of the people who now have social housing problems throughout this Province, who are waiting days and years, weeks, months and years for the RRAP inspectors to go and check their homes to see if they are eligible - the minister lays them off, fires them, and yes, Mr. Speaker, he is part of the government that brings in a puffin act. Where is the direction of this government? Where is this government headed? Where are we going?

We have no problems with the piece of legislation that has been brought in, but we have a responsibility as an Opposition to point out that this puffin act is not going to do anything for the economy of this Province. We have a responsibility to let the people know what the government's agenda is, and we intend to let the people know the government's agenda.

The agenda of this government is to do nothing for the people on social assistance, to do nothing for the students who are not getting student aid, to do nothing for the people who have to lie in stretchers, to do nothing for people who have to come all across Newfoundland to get their case fought in the Legislature. There is not one piece of legislation proposed to come forward in this session of the House that is going to address any of these needs, not one, yet, Mr. Speaker, the third piece of legislation, I believe, or the fourth to be introduced in this House, was the puffin act. What is that going to do for the people in Placentia or the people in Conche or the people in Jacques Fontaine or the people in Port au Bras or Baie Verte or Port de Grave. What is that going to do for these people who are faced with hardship? What is that going to do for a woman in this Province with three teenage daughters and no door to her house? Social Services will not give her - the Housing will not give her a door.

What is this puffin act and this piece of legislation going to do for the woman who has no windows? - the glass broken out of her window frames and she has to try to put it together with Scotch tape. What is the puffin going to do for these people? That is what I would like to have answered.

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. TOBIN: (Inaudible). What is it going to do for the men and women who are trying to survive today on two dollars a day, Mr. Speaker? What is it going to do for the men and women in this Province who have two dollars a day to try to live on? That is the question I would like to have answered. Do the people opposite, the Cabinet and the backbenchers, believe that the most important piece of legislation, the number four piece of legislation to be introduced in this Legislature, was an act to deal with a puffin? -or, as the minister said when he introduced the bill, a feathered beast?

The minister introduced this bill, saying said how honoured he was to bring to this Assembly a piece of legislation to introduce a feathered beast. Mr. Speaker, that feathered beast is not going to do much to put bread and butter on the tables of the men and women and their families in this Province who have nothing to eat - not going to do very much, I say to the minister.

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. TOBIN: It will.

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible) Ferryland, Witless Bay and Bay Bulls (inaudible).

MR. TOBIN: The people of Ferryland are waiting for the puffin so they can put bread and butter on their tables.

MR. WALSH: Yes. There are a number of tour boat operators down there (inaudible) designation to increase their own marketing capabilities.

MR. TOBIN: Well, I say to the minister, if that is the answer - now the economic strategy for this government for this session is the puffin bill, that's going to put bread and butter on the tables of the people in Ferryland and the people in other parts of the Province. That is the economic strategy of this government, says the minister.

MR. MATTHEWS: The Economic Strategic Plan.

MR. SIMMS: (Inaudible) Jim Walsh.

MR. TOBIN: Economic Strategic Plan. The minister said it, the minister just said it is going to do a lot to put bread and butter on the tables of the people of Ferryland and the people of this Province. Now, if the people of this Province in Port au Bras in my district, or Epworth, or over in Lamaline or Lourdes Cove, have to go out tonight and decide that everything is going to be solved, they are all going back to work, bread and butter is coming on the table, yes, because the minister introduced the puffin act. How childish, Mr. Speaker, for the minister to say it!

The fact of the matter is that we intend to let the people of this Province know that this government has no economic plan. It is contained in this book - the legislation that is to be introduced in this Assembly does nothing for the economy of this Province. It does nothing for the 500 unemployed Shipyard workers in Marystown who were working for seventeen years. In the last three years none of them have worked. It does nothing for the 1,000 men and women who are laid off from the Marystown fish plant; it does nothing for the 1,000 men and women who are laid off from the Port Union plant; and it does nothing for the people who are laid off in Ramea, Gaultois, Harbour Breton and other places in our Province. It does absolutely nothing.

I expected to see this government bring in some sort of an economic plan, some sort of a piece of legislation that was going to do something to stimulate the economy of this Province. That is not the case.

Speaking of feathered beasts -

MR. SIMMS: Speaking of what?

MR. TOBIN: Feathered beasts.

MR. SIMMS: Feathered beasts.

MR. TOBIN: Mr. Speaker, I'm serious about this. The Member for Placentia, the Minister of Municipal and Provincial Affairs, should take it seriously, as well. Because if he doesn't realize it, there are 21,000 less men and women working in this Province since you people came to office. Now, if you take pride in that, if you support that, if that is all you are doing, and the best piece of legislation you can bring in to deal with these 21,000 people is the puffin act, then I would say you are not much of a government, and I believe the people of this Province would agree. It is shameful.

MR. HOGAN: (Inaudible) get down to business.

MR. TOBIN: This is not government business? Now, the Minister of Municipal and Provincial Affairs says: Let's get down to government business.

Well, it wasn't the Opposition who brought in the puffin act. It wasn't the Member for St. John's East who brought in the puffin act. It was this government, the Cabinet that you are part of, that brought in the puffin act and who made it the third piece of legislation to be called in this House. That is exactly what it was, the puffin act.

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible) puffin.

MR. TOBIN: There is one thing about puffin, and there is one person good at puffin. I say to the Minister of Municipal and Provincial Affairs that rather than being in here yapping across the House, he should be out supporting his constituents against - instead of being the only one in Placentia that supports the importation of American garbage -

AN HON. MEMBER: Come down and try me.

MR. TOBIN: For what? I don't have to go down there. I don't have to go down there to try you. The minister - you ran four times already and only got elected once, so you shouldn't challenge too many to go down and try you, I say to the member. Your record is one for four, so you shouldn't be too loud and abrasive about somebody challenging you. Get elected three times and ask us to challenge you. That is when we will take you seriously. Anyone can get elected once, I say to the minister. Anyone can get elected once. Getting re-elected is going to be your test.

I say to the Minister of Municipal and Provincial Affairs that he should not get too cocky. I have seen people in this House before, getting elected once and coming in and challenging everyone; but they weren't around very much longer; and there are a lot of them over there with the same attitude.

Speaking of puffin, you are only in the House for a couple of years and you are taking on the world.

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. TOBIN: The member for Twillingate, the Minister of Fisheries, could give us all advice, I would suspect, on getting elected, and how to stay getting elected, even though he switched parties a few times. He could give us all advice on that. I say to the Minister of Municipal and Provincial Affairs that the Member for Twillingate was not about to challenge everyone after he got elected the first time saying, take me on.

I guess my time on this piece of legislation is just about cluing up.

AN HON. MEMBER: By leave.

MR. TOBIN: No, I will not 'by leave' on it, but I will say, and I will say to the Premier, that if he feels that the most important piece of legislation, number three, I believe, or number four, to be introduced in this Legislature was the puffin bill, then I would say he doesn't have much of a plan.

In any case, I do not have any problem in supporting the piece of legislation, but I felt an obligation to my constituents and to the people of this Province to point out the lack of priority of this government in terms of an economic strategic plan for this Province.

MR. SPEAKER: The hon. the Premier.

PREMIER WELLS: Mr. Speaker, I did not intend to speak on this, and I am not speaking on the puffin legislation. I am speaking on the puffing I have heard from the opposite side, and I think it is necessary for me to do it.

Mr. Speaker, this is not the most important piece of legislation on this Order Paper. Its place doesn't have anything to do with it. This, as I recall, originated when the former government conducted a lottery or a contest throughout the Province as to what should be the avian emblem. So we are following up and cluing up, and it was on the Order Paper last Spring and it was left over because we did not give it all that much attention, and now it has been left over for two or three years.

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

PREMIER WELLS: So it is just one of those things on the Order Paper.

For the hon. member to make those kinds of statements - who, in God's name, would believe a word he says, if he asks people to give that stuff credibility? Just look at the rest of the content. With no plan, he says; we are not doing anything. What does he want us to do; pass an act that restores the codfish in the sea? Is that what he want's us to do? Is that what this Legislature is going to do? Are we going to pass an act to end national economic recessions, or to make them inapplicable in Newfoundland? Is that what he wants us to do? That is a good piece of legislation. That should really do something.

Maybe he would want us to pass an act to halt federal reductions in transfers to the Province of Newfoundland so as to entitle this Legislature to have more. Maybe that is what he feels this Legislature should do. Maybe he feels we should pass an act to create another cucumber plant. Maybe that is what we will do. Maybe this is the economic plan of the hon. members opposite - a cucumber plant. At least the poor old puffin will not cost us $22 million - 'economic plan.'

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

PREMIER WELLS: They stand on the opposite side and say: The government should do more. The government should pay the fishermen even more. The government should pay pensions to people who want to leave the fishery at fifty. This government is terrible. It is only going to cost this or that to do it; why are they not taking advantage of it - instead of talking to their cousins in Ottawa who are causing this problem.

What they do not do is stand and tell us from what citizens pockets they want us to take the money, because that is what this Legislature does. When it spends money, what this Legislature does is take it out of the pockets of the citizens of the Province. Now what those hon. members opposite stand and say is: Spend more money; give more money; but they do not have the courage to say from whose pockets it is to be taken.

We would like to see more money paid, and like to see it spent, and like to see the federal government take their -

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

I want to remind the hon. Member for Burin - Placentia West that he has participated in the debate, and that he is continually interrupting, and that is not permitted in the House of Assembly. It is not permitted in any House of Assembly. So hon. members should know the rules. The hon. member has spoken, and should extend the same courtesy to the Premier that was extended to him when he was speaking.

The hon. the Premier.

PREMIER WELLS: Mr. Speaker, I heard him talk about the numbers unemployed. Is the puffin act going to deal with the unemployed? As though this is a new problem; as though there is something different about this recession. Let me give you the figures. Here is the comparison, 1981-'82, October over October, the same month for which we just got the figures: It is noteworthy that an October over October employment decline of 13,000 or 6.9 per cent was recorded in 1981 - the year for which the hon. member sat in the Cabinet and had responsibility. In the same month of 1981 the size of the October over October labour force declined by 7,000 or 3.3 per cent. This compares with 3.3 per cent decline in this year - exactly the same.

MR. TOBIN: A point of order, Mr. Speaker.

MR. SPEAKER: The hon. the Member for Burin - Placentia West on a point of order.

MR. TOBIN: Mr. Speaker, the Premier cannot get up and mislead the House like he just did, and he has to be corrected when he misleads the House. I was not even elected to this Assembly in 1981, let alone in the Cabinet.

MR. SPEAKER: There is no point of order.

The hon. the Government House Leader.

MR. ROBERTS: (Inaudible) but let me say that it simply seems, in the bad moments of the nightmare, that sometimes the hon. gentleman has sat here forever. You will have to forgive us for that.

MR. SPEAKER: There is no point of order.

The hon. the Premier.

PREMIER WELLS: I do not think there is much order in either comment, Mr. Speaker.

The numbers of unemployed in 1981, October over October, the numbers of unemployed rose by 29.2 per cent compared with 17.9 per cent in this year - quite remarkable. And the hon. member stands as though the national economic recession - the international recession - is not occurring? When you draw it to their attention all they say is: Oh, you are repapering your office. You are spending some money. Really intelligent dealing with the economic situation, I must say.

As well, Mr. Speaker, the October over October unemployment rate of 1981 rose by 3.4 percentage points. Now, Mr. Speaker, an economic recession is beyond the control of the Legislature of this Province. We cannot pass an act that will have the effect of stopping the impact of the economic recession in this Province, we cannot pass an act that will restore the northern cod to the waters off Newfoundland and Labrador, and we are not going to be passing acts to create phoney jobs in cucumber plants, to spend $22 million doing it, pretending we are doing something.

Mr. Speaker, when you look at the circumstances in the Province at the moment you will realize just how well the Province has been managed in financial terms, that, notwithstanding the impact of the national economic recession, notwithstanding the impact, Mr. Speaker, of the federal cutbacks that have taken place consistently, year after year for each of the last three years, notwithstanding what has happened in the fishery, we still largely out-performed any of the other provinces of Canada. Mr. Speaker, other provinces, Ontario, Alberta, Quebec, Saskatchewan, each of them have had their credit ratings decreased because they have mismanaged. What do the hon. members opposite say? Borrow! Borrow! Borrow! As though the people of this Province had the ability to borrow endlessly and that was the simple answer. Mr. Speaker, even the NDP are coming to realize that that cannot continue any more.

I was reading an editorial comment in today's Globe and Mail reporting on a speech by Premier Romanow of Saskatchewan and commending him for saying: 'Some say don't worry about it. Some say by showing your concern you are betraying the social democratic truth. Just continue on and borrow and borrow. Nothing could be further from the truth.'

Mr. Speaker, even the New Democratic Party is finally coming to realize that you have got to maintain a sound financial situation.

Yet in a simple piece of legislation to provide for the puffin as the bird of this Province, which should have gone through like that with a brief comment from the other side, the members opposite stand up and do this kind of grandstanding, the kind of grandstanding that they did yesterday when they abused that poor man in the wheelchair and brought him out to try and make political points on it. A shocking display, Mr. Speaker! Are there no depths to which they will not sink, Mr. Speaker, in their efforts to try and somehow cast some political aspersions on the government? A shocking display, a shocking performance in all of the circumstances, Mr. Speaker!

If they had any sense or had any real concern for the Province, they would simply say to the minister: We approve of your puffin legislation. We originated the idea of having the puffin as the bird of the Province. Take some credit for it, let it go through and let the House get on with its ordinary business instead of this silly grandstanding.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

MR. SPEAKER: The hon. the Member for Humber East.

MS. VERGE: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

It is not hard to tell when the Opposition is getting to the Premier. It is not hard to tell when he cannot deal with the arguments on their merits. He always resorts to attacking the questioner and attempting to shift the blame. He tries to blame the previous government, he tries to blame the federal government, the unions and the news media, instead of owning up to his own responsibility for the mess the Province is now in.

Mr. Speaker, a few minutes ago the Premier had the gall to accuse my colleague, the Member for Burin - Placentia West, of lacking the courage to say from whose pockets he was going to get the money needed for measures that are needed. This is a Premier who has lacked the courage to tell the people of the Province from whose pockets the $50,000 salary supplement came. He has never had the courage to tell from which businesspeople the $50,000 salary supplement came. This is the Premier who has not had the courage to own up to the extravagant redecorating he is now having done in his suite of offices, simply because he does not like the bamboo ceiling that was put there in 1986. That surely would not do for a Premier of Newfoundland and Labrador, high and mighty, in 1992, no.

The Premier tries to say that he did not have a choice, that he inherited a plan for redecorating. The Premier did not have a choice I suppose, when it came to providing support for single mothers and their children. The Premier made a choice though; he cut social assistance for single parent families getting child support. When it came to health care, the Premier had a choice, he could have lived up to his campaign promises, he could have opened more hospital beds, he did not have to close whole hospitals but he did.

When it comes to university education the Premier had a choice, he made promises to immediately expand Grenfell College in Corner Brook to establish a new university campus in central Newfoundland and then build new university campuses in southern, northern Newfoundland and Labrador. He made that promise in the winter of 1989, after he had been Leader of the Opposition for a year-and-a-half going on two years; after he was here in the Legislature with the financial statements of the Province before him, he did not have to make those extravagant promises, he did not have to; he did not have to break the promises after he became Premier, he did not have to put people in central Newfoundland through the charade of competing to be the site for the new central Newfoundland university campus but he did that.

Mr. Speaker, as I said in the beginning, it is not hard to tell when this Premier is in trouble. There is a saying that there is no defence like a good offence. Whenever this Premier is feeling cornered he goes right on the attack, right on the attack. He disparages the character of the Member for Burin - Placentia West, he faults the previous government, he faults the government in Ottawa, he criticizes the news media, he condemns the labour movement, he tries to shift the debate to Saskatchewan but he is very uncomfortable dealing with the here and now responsibilities of the Wells administration, very uncomfortable.

He lacks answers, he lacks a plan; he cannot defend the staggering 21,000 job loss, not counting direct job losses from the northern cod moratorium. He cannot answer for the doubling of the welfare rolls. He has no answers, he has no plan, he has failed miserably in delivering on his campaign platform. Much as he may try to recreate the election campaign of 1989 minus Humber East, much as he may try to shift the ground back several years, he will not succeed because the people of the Province are not interested in debating what happened four years ago, ten years ago, fifteen years ago. The people of Newfoundland and Labrador are concerned about how they are living today and how they and their children are going to live tomorrow, and the people of the Province are not going to put up with a Premier who refuses to own up to his responsibility, who, Marie Antoinette style, is refurbishing his offices at the same time as single mothers and their children cannot afford to have a nutritious balanced diet. The people of Newfoundland and Labrador are not going to put up with that.

Now, Mr. Speaker, I had no intention of speaking on this bill but after the charade just carried out by the Premier, I felt I had to get up to try to point out the transparency of his protests. The Premier has no answers to the substantive criticisms of the opposition about his failure to manage the provincial government, his failure to stimulate the economy. He has no answers for the fact that ever since he set up an Economic Recovery Commission the economy has been going down the tubes. This Premier has no hope to offer the citizens of Newfoundland and Labrador and it is timefor this Premier to give it up and allow people who have ideas and energy to manage Newfoundland and Labrador and stimulate the economy here.

Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

Before proceeding the Chair must remind hon. members about what we're into here. Some members think it's rather nice and you can be rather tricky when we're into second reading and doing other things, rather than what ought to be done. The House has certain rules to be followed. Hon. members ought to follow them.

Relevancy as we know is difficult to call but hon. members will I think agree that we've been anything but relevant in the past little while. When the Member for Burin - Placentia West started speaking, and started bringing in economic matters, the Chair was rather lenient, and then was lenient to the Premier as well, and lenient to the Member for Humber East. But the Chair has to bring it to the attention of hon. members that second reading is for debating the principle of the Bill. If hon. members want to do other things then they should change the rules so that they can do them.

The Chair must remind hon. members that the debate for the past hour was all irrelevant and not related to the Bill at all. Hon. members should remember that in second reading we have to speak to the principle of the Bill. Now if hon. members, as I said, insist on making things difficult for the Chair, that's not the way it ought to be. Hon. members know the rules of the House and they ought to follow the rules of the House. The job of the Chair is to enforce the rules. The job of hon. members is to follow the rules.

As I've said, we can make this place a charade by constantly disobeying the rules and trying to be - I don't know what we'd call it - trying to evade the rules. The rules are there, and if we're to operate a good House the rules must be followed in every respect and every aspect of the House.

If the minister speaks now he closes the debate.

The hon. the Minister of Tourism and Culture.

MR. WALSH: Mr. Speaker, in attempting to close debate this afternoon let me simply say that there are a number of people out there - and I mentioned earlier, in particular the people in the Witless Bay and Bay Bulls area - who are looking to utilise the puffin as part of their promotion package over the next twelve to twenty-four months. One of the things we have to realise - and we talk about the puffin as the avian symbol for Newfoundland - is that in Newfoundland we have the largest colonies and the largest sanctuaries of such birds in North America. We've been utilizing it as a major promotional item over the last number of years, and in actual fact about 95 per cent of all of the puffins in North America breed in and around Newfoundland and Labrador.

So for those reasons we have an opportunity to see tremendous spin-offs in terms of the various items that can be marketed. All the way from shirts, caps, pins, and so on. So we have an opportunity also, with this Bill being put in place today, to utilise the bird also in our promotional activities henceforth, and that we will use it.

I want also to give full credit to the members on the opposite side who actually began this process some five years ago when they had their contest, in terms of asking the people of Newfoundland to try to identify an avian symbol for the Province. The end result was the puffin. I'm a little disappointed that I've heard more noise here concerning all the other subjects than the one that we were trying to deal with than one would hear if they were actually going to visit one of the colonies off Witless Bay or Bay Bulls.

So with that, Mr. Speaker, I move second reading on Bill 21.

On motion, a bill, " An Act Respecting An Avian Emblem Of The Province," read a second time, ordered referred to a Committee of the Whole House on tomorrow. (Bill No. 21).

MR. ROBERTS: Mr. Speaker, the Opposition can really get their teeth into the next one. Order 7, Bill No. 20.

MR. SPEAKER: Order 7.

Motion, second reading of a bill, "An Act To Amend The Waste Material Disposal Act". (Bill No. 20).

MR. SPEAKER: The hon. the Minister of Environment and Lands.

MS. COWAN: Thank you very much, Mr. Speaker. I'm not quite sure this is the sort of thing you'd want to get your teeth into, literally.

Mr. Speaker, I'm pleased today to be able to introduce into the House of Assembly for second reading Bill 20, "An Act To Amend The Waste Material Disposal Act." The main purpose of this Bill is to increase the present maximum fine under the Waste Material Act from $2,000 to $500,000. I'm sure that members of the House would agree with me that $2,000 is not a realistic fine in today's world. Certainly back in the '60s or '70s when this bill was put in place I think that such offenses as illegal garbage disposal, littering and small scale industrial discharges might have been in mind, but it is important that there be substantial increase of the maximum fine to allow for the worst case scenarios, repeat offenders and offenses by large industrial polluters.

Mr. Speaker, today there are many situations in Newfoundland where the Newfoundland industry could dump waste material illegally and absorb the fines as saving over actual disposal costs. In the present climate of greatly increased awareness and concern for the environment it is considered that a maximum fine of at least $500,000 is necessary to act as a deterrent to potential major polluters. This amount puts the province's environmental penalty provision in line with most other Canadian jurisdictions. Harmonization of environmental legislation across the country is identified as a goal of all provinces and the federal government.

Mr. Speaker, the amendment proposed in the bill will also allow for the court to order cleanup upon conviction for a disposal offence. This will rectify an omission in the act as currently written. The lack of such a provision has been expressed as a concern by several judges.

Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to present the bill to the hon. House and urge its full support by all hon. members. Thank you.

MR. SPEAKER: The hon. the Member for Harbour Main.

MR. DOYLE: Thank you, Mr. Speaker. Contrary to what the Government House Leader might think, I think this is a very good piece of legislation, or it is at least better than what was there before. At least there is a little bit of a deterrent built into this piece of legislation in that the fine now goes from $2,000 up to $500,000. I don't know if that is a great deterrent, but it is certainly better than what was there before. Two thousand dollars certainly wasn't any great deterrent to a company like Albright and Wilson. I mean what kind of an effect would a $2,000 fine have on a company like Albright and Wilson if they wanted to act irresponsibly and if they wanted to continue to scar the environment the way that they did do over the number of years that they were operating in Long Harbour.

I think another good aspect of this bill, incidentally, is that now, at least, the bill contains a further deterrent in that the courts now have the ability to actually go to the company and say: not only are you going to pay a fine of $50,000, $100,000, $150,000 or $500,000, but now you have to restore the site to its original condition. I think even that would be the larger deterrent if it came to ordering a company, again, like Albright and Wilson - and they are the companies that come to mind, the companies that do the most environmental damage. So if you went to a company like Albright and Wilson, even a $500,000 fine may not be a deterrent for them, but having to restore a site and put it back in its original condition is certainly a deterrent for any individual or company who does the job on the environment that some of these companies have been prone to do and have been known to do. A lot of them are acting very irresponsibly, and I don't think there is anything more important from my own point of view.

Certainly when you watch the television sets today and you go into the schools and you see the projects that the schools are undertaking, you see how important the environment is today. You know, if we all don't start to smarten up a little bit, right around the world and here in our own province, we are going to be faced with some major, major environmental disasters in years to come. I think it is necessary to hand something over to our children. We are the people who are being irresponsible. We are the people who are causing all the problems on this planet environmentally. I think we have to act responsibly and we have to think of the other generations, our own children who are coming along, and we have to think about what we are passing on to them.

So I support legislation like this. It is good legislation. Anything that improves it and strengthens it and gives the courts the ability and the teeth that they need and the power that they need to bring some of these groups to task will certainly get my support, Mr. Speaker.

Before, as I said, all we had was the punishment. We didn't have companies being forced to make restitution and restoration of the property. I visited - and the one that comes to mind, which most hon. members have seen, I suppose, especially the Minister of Municipal and Provincial Affairs, is the one at Long Harbour. Just about four or five months ago, when I was part of the committee on the incinerator project for Long Harbour we went down there and we had a look at that site down there. It's absolutely amazing.

I hadn't see the site in about seven or eight years. It's absolutely amazing what Albright and Wilson have done to that landscape in there. Now granted, they've created a lot of jobs and they've given people a lot of employment over the years. As a matter of fact I worked in there myself at one point in time. But it's absolutely amazing what that company has been allowed to do. I know the type of operation that it is, it's a phosphorus operation, which is bad for the environment anyway. But how they have been able to get away with what they've been able to get away with over that time period was absolutely amazing.

Now I realize that we were in power at the time when all of this was going on, but I remember somebody saying -

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. DOYLE: Well, maybe. The problem is, I suppose, maybe it looks a whole lot worse than what it really is. But it certainly looks like a very major scar upon the landscape. I tell you, if I was living in Long Harbour I wouldn't want to be looking out my window every day and seeing that kind of an environmental scar next to me.

I remember somebody saying at one point in time, back about, I don't know, maybe four or five years ago, that it would have been better, and it would have been less costly, for the Newfoundland government to provide every single employee on that job with a salary of about $25,000 -

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. DOYLE: - it would have been less costly to give them all a salary of $25,000, in comparison -

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. DOYLE: Wait now. In comparison to what it was costing the Newfoundland taxpayer in terms of electrical subsidy and everything else.

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. DOYLE: There was. So that was the information that I received back around four or five years ago when we were in government, that it would have been less costly to the Newfoundland government had we provided every single employee in Long Harbour with a salary of $25,000, as compared to the subsidies that were given to the company to run that operation, in terms of electrical and everything else.

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible)!

MR. DOYLE: That's exactly what I'm saying. Mr. Speaker, it was certainly not a good project, from an environmental point of view. I think we can all agree on that. I think it's time that we did put a little bit of teeth in the Act. I think it does at least that much. If you raise the fine from $2,000 up to $500,000 it's certainly more of a deterrent.

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. DOYLE: Pardon me?

AN HON. MEMBER: It sends a signal.

MR. DOYLE: It sends a signal. The courts having the power to force the company to restore a site now certainly sends the signal to any potential invader of the environment, let's put it that way.

At the same time I would say to the minister, while she's done something very good here in my view, I think she should as well be on her guard about other potentially hazardous environmental projects that might every now and then raise their heads here in the Province. I'm referring, as the minister knows, to the incinerator project which is slated for Long Harbour. Let's hope that we don't see another major scar upon the environment in the same place, in Long Harbour. I think the people of Long Harbour can do without that, although they deserve the jobs and they deserve the employment that they should have, especially since they lost Long Harbour. But I think we should be on our guard against questionable environmental projects that might come along, like the incinerator project.

I believe government knows enough about that project right now, I would say to the minister, that they could actually say that they are going to shelve that project. If I am not mistaken there is a precedent for that. I think back in 1988 - and I forget the name of the company right now - there was a company that was going to store oil in the abandoned mine sites over on Bell Island. They put an application or a proposal before government and there was quite a hue and cry at that time, I say to the minister, about that proposal. I think an awful lot of the people of Bell Island were very concerned about it. They didn't want to see it go ahead. As a result, we shelved the project. We didn't submit it to an environmental process or environmental review. I suppose the company could have asked for an environmental review at that time but, because there was so much environmental concern, because there were so many people on Bell Island and the neighbouring area who were against that project, we said: Okay, we will shelve the project and there will be no storage of oil at the Bell Island site.

So maybe it is time that the minister had a talk to her Cabinet colleagues and said to them: you know, we are going to get a proposal on this project fairly soon. There has been a committee travelling all around the Province which has received an extensive number of briefs, in St. John's, in the minister's own area, in Dunville and Long Harbour and the people, almost unanimously, were opposed to that project.

You know, the very idea of importing American garbage to our soil was really repulsive to a lot of people. I remember we received roughly about forty-eight briefs on that subject. If I am not mistaken I think there were possibly two people out of the forty-eight briefs who said: Well, let's wait until some kind of an environmental review is done on it and then we will form an opinion. For the most part, out of the forty-eight, forty-six briefs, most said: reject it, shelve it, kill it, we don't want to see it here in the Province.

Mr. Speaker, I am a little bit concerned that the Province remains silent on that subject. Surely the environmental people in the minister's department know enough about that project right now that they can say -

AN HON. MEMBER: What project?

MR. DOYLE: The project at Long Harbour, the one that is slated for Long Harbour, the incinerator project.

MR. HOGAN: The one that the press is talking about.

MR. MATTHEWS: Don't you talk about it now?

MR. DOYLE: Well, I would say to the minister, if it is only the press that is talking about it, then maybe it is time that the government made a statement on it. Why doesn't the minister and the government make a statement on it and say: We are going to wait for an environmental review; if a proposal is submitted to the government, we will put it to an environmental review; that we will kill it. Make some kind of a statement on it because there are an awful lot of people around Newfoundland who are very concerned about it. Right now here in St. John's there are quite a number of people going around with a petition. They are going to have their concerns on that particular issue expressed here in the House of Assembly, I would imagine. So I think the government knows enough about that project right now that they should shelve it, they should kill it, or at least make a statement on it, because they remain very, very silent.

I would like to know from the minister, maybe when she closes debate on this subject, that if a proposal does come in to the government and it is put to an environmental review or an environmental process, and if the environmental process says: Okay, we recommend that the project go ahead. Is the government still prepared to go ahead with that project despite the opposition that the people of the Province have voiced to the government?

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. DOYLE: Apparently not. Anyway, we have had our debate on the incinerator project here in the House of Assembly back about three or four months ago, we still have not heard too much from the government. But I will commend the minister on this bill, it is a good bill and as I said, anything that gives a little bit of strength to the minister's department, that gives strength to the law in cleaning up the environmental problems in the Province will certainly receive my support.

MR. SPEAKER: The hon. the Member for St. John's East.

MR. HARRIS: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

I want to speak on this bill which in principle I suppose, can be supported in that it does increase the deterrent effect of certain acts committed that lay waste to our environment. I wonder, Mr. Speaker, whether it will really be a deterrent, however, to people who have been guilty of throwing garbage into the woods, leaving garbage around, dumping in unusual places and uncertified places. We have had a fine now of $2,000 for people and perhaps the minister can tell us how many individuals have been charged under the Waste Disposal Act for illegal dumping, in small amounts, let us deal with small amounts now, you see the signs all over the place: No Dumping, Solid Waste Disposal Act, maximum fine $2,000. How many individuals and what is the history of prosecutions under that act, and I ask the minister when she gets up in her reply, to tell us what the history of prosecutions has been under the Waste Material Disposal Act when the fine was $2,000, because I am sure, Mr. Speaker, an individual who may be tempted to toss a few garbage bags in the woods or leave things dumped - and I have seen these unofficial dumps here and there in the woods, and signs saying: No Dumping - Fine: $2,000. How many prosecutions have there been under the existing legislation against individuals?

I can see how a large company, if they flagrantly violate the act, you know a fine of a half-a-million dollars might be considered by a judge and there may be cases as the minister has indicated, where judges have been dissatisfied if they do not have the power to order a cleanup. I think that is a very wholesome, if I could use such a word in this context, provision in the act to give that power because it is sometimes more of a deterrent to have to go about and undo that which you have done rather than just pay a fine and pay a fine by a company in many cases with these half-a-million dollar fines. Why does not the minister go further and make these fines assessable not only on the company itself but upon the officers of a company who may be responsible for these kinds of flagrant acts?

Mr. Speaker, if the minister thinks that this kind of action is so despicable, and I agree that the kind of flagrant violation of the environment and of our fellow citizenry that this kind of violation would contemplate, that is so drastic as to require a half-a-million dollar fine, which is a significant amount of money even to a large company, why doesn't she hold the people who are responsible for those kinds of decisions, personally and individually liable?

Why not put a real deterrent on the individuals who are controlling these companies? I suppose one might ask why only make the penalty be paid by the shareholders?... if it were Abitibi-Price. The Minister of Forestry and Agriculture is very interested in this and some large companies in his riding. For example, if Abitibi-Price were to violate this act, why penalize just the shareholders of Abitibi-Price, why not the people who are actually making the decisions that do that, why should just the shareholders have to pay for the cost of the officers or the actors in that company causing the violation of this act, and I want the minister to answer that question because I think it is a legitimate question. It is all very well to come in here with a little bit of piecemeal legislation on the Waste Material Disposal Act, but why does she not address the real problem, which is the decision makers in these companies?

We have a couple of bills before this House. This bill, Bill 20, talks about one section of the act. We have another bill, Bill 42, adding another section to the act. Why do we have a little hodgepodge? We are going to have another one next week or the week after, talking about containers. Why does the minister not take the bull by the horns and come in with an overall policy on solid waste disposal problems? Why does she not resolve some of those problems? I know she has been dithering with them ever since she has had the position of Minister of the Environment. She has not yet had the courage to come forth with a policy that is going to seriously resolve the problems of beverage containers in this Province. We have not had that. We have had a lot of talk about it, but we have not seen any action yet on that.

There is a very serious problem with solid waste disposal in this Province, and I do not think it can be addressed by a simple act of increasing the fines. That is a favourite act of this government: Let's wield the big stick and make the big stick bigger. Well that is not good enough. That is not going to solve the problems when there are, in fact, more creative ways of doing it. But we are not seeing it from this government because this government does not seem to be willing to provide the kind of leadership in these fields that is necessary. It does not involve spending an enormous amount of money. We can banter back and forth all day as we did today and yesterday and the day before about how much money the government is spending or can spend or will spend, or where they are going to get it, but this is in the area of regulation of the environment, Mr. Speaker. It is an opportunity for the government, even in times of recession, to show some leadership and some creativity in dealing with these problems. The government is letting the time slip by and letting the opportunity slip by, and in the meantime the situation is getting worse and worse and worse.

I say that the government speaks with a forked tongue when it comes to the environment, because on the one hand we have the minister bringing in this kind of legislation, claiming that it is an important move or important act to try and solve the problems, even though it is not directed at the people who caused the problems, but rather at the shareholders of companies who themselves have no control over the day-to-day activities of what the directors do, or what the CEO does, or what the person in the field does. They make the shareholders pay, but that is not going to solve the problem.

What about their position on a serious matter of waste disposal with respect to - not our garbage, Mr. Speaker, but the American's garbage - the garbage produced in New York and New Jersey? What about some leadership from this government on that?

The Minister of Municipal and Provincial Affairs was just in the House saying: What proposal? You mean the one that the press is talking about?

Mr. Speaker, that is the kind of hypocrisy that this government is trying to get on with. They are trying to turn a blind eye to the realities. Everybody in this Province knows that the North American Resource Recovery - which is the name under which this company is operating - want to dump American garbage into this Province and leave behind the ashes and chemicals and residue and waste. Leave it here, because they will not take it in the United States of America. They will not allow it. That is why they want to bring it here - and this government is encouraging them. I say that as a challenge - that they are encouraging this project. They are encouraging it every day. Why - and I have to criticize the environment critic for the PC's - why did he not ask the Minister of Environment what was said by the Premier in these meetings with this company, or one of their affiliated companies? What was said there?

If we see a proposal after these meetings with the Premier, these secret meeting that the minister will not talk about - maybe she does not even know about them - I will say it is because the Premier encouraged the proposal to come forth. He did not tell these people that we will not tolerate it in this Province. If we now see a proposal, it is at considerable cost to this company, some $4 million or $5 million I am told they will have to spend to put this proposal forward and go through the environmental process. That is a figure that has been quoted, that it will cost them a considerable number of dollars to do this. I hope they don't get it from ACOA. The federal Tories have already given them nine hundred and some-odd thousand dollars to promote this proposal. Now if they come forward with a proposal - I challenge the Minister of Environment when she gets up to respond to this. If we get a proposal from that company, it will be because this government, the Premier, the Premier's Office, the backbenchers and the Cabinet have encouraged the proposal. They have said: Go ahead. They are encouraging them to go ahead and put a proposal before the government because they are giving them some succour that they will, in fact, look upon it favourably.

Why are they meeting with the Premier, if not to get the kind of assurance that they want to be able to take the next step and spend the money to put together the proposal? So maybe the minister wasn't involved in these discussions. Maybe she's left out of the big decisions about this. She says she hasn't had any meetings. Maybe the Premier didn't tell her what he said to North American Resources Recovery, or one of their affiliates. I don't want to split hairs over this. It may not have been the board of directors of North American Resource Recovery. It was a parent company, or a holding company, or a related company, or somebody involved with the project who met with the Premier. What were they seeking if they weren't seeking assurance that their proposal for importing American garbage was going to be looked upon favourably by this government and given a chance, provided the environmental hoops are jumped, that that will go forward and they will be responsible for setting up a project to import American garbage into this Province?

There is a simple answer. The simple answer is found in the name of the group that is formed to oppose this project. The simple answer is: Say no to American garbage. It is very simple. If this government is opposed to it they have to tell the proponents and their companies that Newfoundland is saying no to American garbage. If they are not prepared to say that, why are they having these secret meetings with the Premier?

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. HARRIS: Now the Minister of Environment is bored. She is so bored, Mr. Speaker, she wasn't at the meeting with these people. She appears to know about it but she wasn't there. Maybe she knows what was said and maybe she doesn't. Perhaps she should wake up from her boredom and pay a little bit more attention to what is going on. If the Premier is having meetings with people maybe she should wake up and say: Mr. Premier, I am not satisfied with your having meetings with people and my not knowing about it.

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. HARRIS: I am not satisfied with that. I want to do my job. I don't want my job to be taken over by you. If I am going to be the Minister of Environment I want to have some say. I want to be involved, not just shuffled off and treated as someone who does what she's told when the Premier speaks, and is so bored about environmental issues that she has to yawn in the House when people are speaking about these things that are important to significant numbers of Newfoundlanders, Mr. Speaker.

Those are the kinds of problems we have in this government. That is why we are getting piecemeal legislation - change one section now, change another section next week, have another bill maybe next year when the minister figures out how to handle bottles and keep everybody happy; keep the companies happy, keep Browning-Harvey happy, keep Coke happy, keep everybody who wants to continue to import bottles happy. That's what she wants to do, keep everybody happy, not try to solve the environmental problems of this Province.

This bill here is not going to do it. It is a piecemeal approach that deals with one single little issue. We will increase the fine but we won't get at the real source of the problem, which is not the shareholders who are going to have to foot the $500,000 fines, if we ever have them. The real problem is the people who are causing the problems, the directors of the operations, the people who make the decisions, and who are causing the environmental damage.

So while the principle of the bill - if we ignore the bill and look at the principle, the principle is to help the environment. I agree with that. Who wouldn't? But this bill doesn't do very much, Mr. Speaker, to help the environment. Thank you.

MR. SPEAKER: The hon. the Member for Fogo.

MR. WINSOR: Thank you, Mr. Speaker. I want to have a few words on Bill 20, "An Act To Amend The Waste Material Disposal Act." I think any Newfoundlander would have to agree with the intent of this bill, to increase the fines from $2,000 to $500,000. Perhaps more important, is the second part, empowering the courts to order clean up and restoration of the environment by the offender.

Mr. Speaker, anyone who has been to rural Newfoundland or any part of Newfoundland can see the waste disposal sites that were created helter-skelter throughout the country.


MR. WINSOR: How long? It has been going on for at least the past fifty years and perhaps longer, Mr. Speaker. If you were to spend some time in the country, as I like to do on weekends, you would see sawmill after sawmill that was abandoned thirty or forty years ago -

MS. COWAN: Do you bring your garbage back out when you leave?

MR. WINSOR: I bring my garbage back out, yes. I certainly bring my garbage out, Mr. Speaker. Talking about garbage, we can look no further than the Environmental Partners Program in the Gander Bay area, and perhaps the one that has been most effective has been in the Indian Bay ecosystem, where last year on a project with the environmental partners, they took 6,000 bags of garbage out of the country. Six thousand bags of garbage came out of perhaps one of the finest fishing resorts in this country. The waters of Indian Bay have been legendary for their big fish, and in the past three years, major work has gone on with the joint efforts of the Cape Freels Development Association in Gambo, Indian Bay to clean up that area, Mr. Speaker. In fact, I think Search and Rescue became involved in bringing out tractor parts, old car wrecks and numerous other things that had been left there. Mr. Speaker, I particularly like that part of the legislation that is going to require the environment to be cleaned up.

Mr. Speaker, we also have another pressing problem. Every municipality where they have been forced to have a waste disposal site, garbage is just thrown on the ground. Very few municipalities have the financial resources or the equipment that can adequately take care of a waste disposal site. I know, just recently, in the past two weeks, environmental people have come to at least two municipalities in my district to tell them that their waste disposal sites need to be cleaned up.

Mr. Speaker, that is an ongoing problem, a great concern to everyone in the Province, that waste disposal sites that this Province, this government, and previous governments have authorized, have been left in a terrible mess. They have hardly ever been cleaned up in a fashion that is satisfactory to any environmentalist. Mr. Speaker, while there is now a provision for the courts to order it, I think the government, at both levels, must continue to make sure that the environment we have already destroyed is restored to what it used to be.

Mr. Speaker, one of the things we talk about that this Province has to offer is the pristine beauty of the countryside. And having walked quite a bit through the country this weekend, Mr. Speaker, I was appalled by the amount of garbage that you continue to find in all the little crooks and crannies, the little side roads that someone has gone in where they have been moose hunting and they have left their garbage everywhere. It is very difficult to fine these people. You are certainly not going to fine them $2,000 or $5,000 or $50,000. What must come with this is an education program so that ordinary citizens, not companies, ordinary citizens who go into the countryside will bring their garbage back.

Mr. Speaker, I will tell you one of the places - if you want to see it really happen - is the last day of school when students leave school.

AN HON. MEMBER: Is that ever true.

MR. WINSOR: Anyone who has ever been around a school building on June 21 when school closes, has watched the number of children who will clean out their lockers, take their paper and let it blow helter-skelter all around the school grounds. Mr. Speaker, that has been going on and continues to go on. An important part of education on waste disposal must rest with an education program for citizens at all levels.

Mr. Speaker, the minister said - I think it was the Minister of Development who originally proposed it - that he was going to have this Province go to recyclable bottles. We were going to eliminate cans. That was a year or a year-and-a-half ago.

AN HON. MEMBER: Ban the can.

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. WINSOR: The minister can go back and check the Speech from the Throne two years ago. Go back and see what the minister had to say - 'This administration will move -'

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. WINSOR: The Minister of Development can take part in this debate when he wants to.

Visitors to P.E.I., most of them, remark how they could go anywhere around the countryside and find little evidence of garbage, very little waste. The question is: Why does the same thing not happen in this Province? Are we somehow different? Why, in P.E.I. is the countryside so beautiful, so clean? You hardly find a gum wrapper.

AN HON. MEMBER: All returnable bottles.

MR. WINSOR: All returnable bottles, all sizes. No cans allowed. It is certainly a factor, Mr. Speaker.

It is now time to just not say to companies and major offenders - I, too, visited Long Harbour and saw the destruction that had been done to the environment there. My colleague from Harbour Main addressed it, and I don't want to; but I have to tell the Minister that an education program must start with all levels of society, and I think that prevention is better than a fine afterwards, and one of the things that she should do is consider a sound education program to make people cognizant of the need to protect the environment.

MR. SPEAKER: The hon. the Member for St. John's South.

MR. MURPHY: Thank you very much, Mr. Speaker.

I would like to say a few words about this particular bill because to me it would seem to be a piece of legislation that is long needed.

Now as the Member for St. John's East said, it may not do everything that needs to be done. It may not be the end-all to cure the problems associated with the environment, but I would suggest to the hon. Member for St. John's East that this government, for the first time in the history of this Province, has taken upon itself to pick up on, without question, one of the most important areas in our future - besides health and others of importance, there is development.

I want to say this, and I want it to go on record: When first we got information that there was indication of a proposal to bring garbage from the United States into this Province, I was the first to disagree with that proposal.

MR. WARREN: Not true.

MR. MURPHY: The Member for Torngat Mountains can bawl out 'Not true'. Perhaps he should spend some time looking for that department that he hasn't found yet, the department-at-large.

It is true. I tell the hon. member that it is true, that this hon. member was the first - the very first.

MR. WARREN: (Inaudible).

MR. MURPHY: Well, I will debate that with the hon. member some other time.

The reason I am against that particular proposal, and adamantly against it, is because irregardless - it does not make any difference - you have a toxic waste that will come into this Province. We will have waste that even may be more dangerous than what we consider as normal domestic garbage, because I don't think, personally, that there is any possible way to monitor that amount of garbage leaving the United States of America, in the proximity of, very close to, nuclear waste and all other kinds of chemical waste, and there is just no way for us to monitor and control the type of garbage that would get here.

The second thing we need to understand is the minute that particular garbage would be incinerated we have two problems. We have a fly ash that would contain that toxic, and/or nuclear and/or chemical by-product. We must scrub and/or contain - we must contain that fly ash.

The second problem we would have would be the bottom ash, which would also contain all those by-products endangering the people of this Province, the environment of this Province, our wildlife, and our possibility of offering Newfoundland as the tourist attraction and/or the tourist mecca of North America.

Now I have a great deal of difficulty with hon. members opposite standing up, because remember, it was ACOA, through their friend, John Crosbie, who provided the million dollars to do an environmental impact study. Now, I would ask the hon. members who got in their place today and went on about - during the puffin legislation - all the problems we have. If I said to each and every member opposite: Here's a million dollars for you, to put in your district, you would be elated, and you could find something very serious to do with it. You wouldn't have enough then, if you had a million dollars, but you would be glad to get your hands on it. So this company got a million dollars from the friend of the friends opposite to do an environmental impact study.

Now, we also heard, Mr. Speaker, of the tremendous number of units that are presently incinerating garbage throughout the world, and the success of these. Now, I find it very difficult to believe, if there are units throughout the world incinerating all types of garbage, that the bottom ash and the fly ash are not causing a problem, and if this particular project can be done with the same viability as all the others throughout the world, then why do we need to do an environmental impact study?

Let us go get the data from all these great plants that are now burning garbage - get that data and lay it on the table, and say: Well, here is the data that belongs to all these successful incinerators that are generating electricity and what have you. Lay it down. That company took an awful lot of people from the Long Harbour area, brought them up to the United States, and showed them all these successful plants. So again I ask, why the need - I ask the Member for Humber Valley, who has great difficulty with incinerating the garbage generated in his district, or finding the landfill to bury it up. Not only now, but when the hon. member was a minister in government he had the problem. The same for the Member for Harbour Main, the same for the member for - finding a way to incinerate our own garbage, and do it properly, and to landfill and bury up our own garbage.

That is what the minister has done here today. She has shown some leadership in bringing in a piece of legislation to deal with the seriousness of the problem associated with our own garbage. Each and every member opposite knows full well, when you look at the moratorium problems, the fishery problems, when you look at it all, that we do have some chance for an economic base in the area of tourism. If, with the Caribou or whatever vessel, we are going to bring people from North Sydney into Argentia, and on the way along, those people are going to look and say: What's that over there beside those nice hills? What Is that smoke we are seeing? - and somebody responds: That's an incinerator we have burning New York garbage, I would suggest that we will have a 'walking negativity' to our tourist trade throughout this Province.

So, I said before, Mr. Speaker, that this government has received a proposal. The proposal has not been passed. The hon. member was asked a question today -

AN HON. MEMBER: She said you never received (inaudible).

MR. MURPHY: She was asked a question today, and she has not received it. Your friend, Mr. Crosbie, through ACOA, has found a million dollars to give these people. Now, Mr. Crosbie hasn't found a million dollars to give the opponents of the project to help them do some research or some seek and find. So it is all one-sided.

This government has now, through the minister, taken some initiative to address the seriousness of environmental control. So I think hon. members should compliment the government, compliment the minister, for taking a first step in the right direction. Because a lot of the hon. members opposite were Ministers of the Crown in the previous government, and did absolutely nothing to protect the environment of this Province.

They have done it in Labrador. The hon. member knows it. He has seen waste left in Labrador for years at the radar sites, all kinds of wastes, from PCB's to toxic waste and materials, and we had to bring a mobile incinerator into Goose Bay only a couple of years ago to destroy them.

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. MURPHY: I can tell the hon. member that his district is not without them either.

AN HON. MEMBER: Not without what?

MR. MURPHY: Without PCB's, I can assure you.

The member and I know, and we will just leave it alone. When the time comes we will discuss it; but I would say that you should get up, stand in your place, and support the minister for her efforts. I am sure we will see - and the Member for St. John's East saying: a little piece here and a little piece there - is totally incorrect, because the minister is now on a course of bringing down legislation as fast as possible to clean up the environment.

With those few words I just want to reinforce my position as a member of this House, and I remind hon. members that first off the mark was yours truly. I will fight against that project and continue to fight against the project. As a matter of fact, the hon. member for Harbour Main told me that he supports my position, and anything that he can do to help me he will be glad to do it.

So, Mr. Speaker, with those few words I want to congratulate the minister and hopefully we have heard the last about this good bill.

MR. SPEAKER: The hon. the Member for Torngat Mountains.

MR. WARREN: Thank you very much, Mr. Speaker.

After just listening to the hon. Member for St. John's South I want to say also that I, for one, support this piece of legislation. This piece of legislation, I think, is long overdue; however, it is not going to go far enough, because I think there should be some initiative in this piece of legislation enabling the Member for St. John's South, or Tom Jones, or anybody else, to encourage the reporting of people who discharge their waste in unlawful areas.

I want to say that I think what we need in this Province is something to entice our citizens to be more conscious in reporting other people making mistakes with our environment. I think that is what is needed. You see a sign on the road now that you will be charged $500 if you unlawfully throw garbage on the side of the road. That is okay. That is there to tell the citizen that he should not throw garbage on the side of the road; but, on the other hand, where is the sign saying: Please report so-and-so, or get the licence plate of a car or a truck that discharges such material, and have some kind of an enticement for people to report those offenders. That is what is needed.

I listened to the hon. Member for St. John's South saying that he was the first off the mark to condemn the proposed incineration at Long Harbour. I want to say to the hon. member that I have the exact date when the hon. member made his press release. Mr. Kirby, and another gentleman with Mr. Kirby, met with myself and the Member for Harbour Main two weeks before that. We expressed to him that we were against it; so it was two weeks earlier than the hon. member went public with his press release. It was two weeks earlier that we indicated that we were going to fight this. The hon. member knew that we were going to take this head-on.

Furthermore, I am surprised he has not convinced his government, because I would have hoped today that the minister would have come in and answered the Member for Harbour Main by saying: We are opposed to North American garbage in Long Harbour. The minister could have said that today and we could have stopped everything as it is. There would be no imported garbage in Long Harbour.

Now, Mr. Speaker, my hon. colleague for St. John's South also mentioned about the great portion of this wonderful Province of ours, Labrador. And yes, Mr. Speaker, I must say that the American Air Force, on the bases at Makkovik site, at the Hopedale site, at the Cartwright site and numerous other sites have left a complete mess. Again we had to get an incinerator into Goose Bay to destroy the PCBs, but he said I understand, and Hansard will record it tomorrow, we had to get an incinerator in there. No, this government did not bring the incinerator in there. It was brought in, paid for by federal money, not by the Province at all.

Now, Mr. Speaker, my hon. colleague will say: we had to. He used the word 'we,' but, Mr. Speaker, let me continue. I spoke in this House on several occasions since the hon. member was here concerning the mess, the absolute mess at Kitts-Michelin with respect to the uranium deposits that were left there and I am happy to report today, with respect to all the difficult times I had with the Atomic Energy Board, a British Corporation, and with the minister at the time, the former Member for Naskaupi, and the difficulty I had with those three groups, I am pleased to report that as of last week, those two sites have been cleaned up at the cost of something like $600,000, Mr. Speaker, by the people coming to me in Labrador wanting to get some action, but no action from this government.

I should say what is most interesting is that a small private contractor in Postville got the main contract in cleaning up this particular site; most interesting. A small private contractor was one of the major components in cleaning up this particular site so I want to, in my concluding remarks to Madam Minister, I want to say it is a good piece of legislation, but I hope that - not tomorrow because we are going to break tomorrow in honour of Remembrance Day, but I hope on Thursday the minister will come into this House and announce to all the people of Newfoundland and Labrador, right straightforward, at two o'clock or 2:15 on Thursday, that we as a government, are not going to support the importation of garbage at Long Harbour.

Now if she would do that, Mr. Speaker, I would be so kind to the hon. lady for as long as we are in this Legislature, because I think then she will be doing something that she believes in, but the reason she is not doing it now is because the Premier and other members of her Cabinet do not want her to act in this positive manner that would satisfy the people of Newfoundland and Labrador, not to see the importation of American garbage into this great, wonderful, beautiful Province of Newfoundland and Labrador.

I thank you very much, Mr. Speaker.

MR. SPEAKER: The hon. the Member for Green Bay.

MR. HEWLETT: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

I too, would like to register my support for this particular bill. I seem to remember some years ago when I worked for the Minister of Municipal and Provincial Affairs, and I do mean some years ago, there was always a problem with councils in the Province with delinquent taxpayers. They could take people to court, the court would levy on them a token fine but the problem that the council was dealing with i.e. back taxes and what not, was never ever taken care of because the court in that particular instance had no power to force a redress for the council and I believe that has been changed these days in municipal legislation.

I am pleased to see a similar provision in this environmental legislation. It is one thing to fine someone for making a mess, but it is another thing to make it a substantial fine, which this particular legislation has done, and the other thing is to give the courts the right to order someone to restore a given site to proper order, in addition to a fine. All the fines on the face of the earth, Mr. Speaker, will do nothing for the environment per se except fatten the treasury, and it may or may not get respect in environment. Making restitution of a given site that's been messed up by one company or individual or another is indeed a positive step. So in that regard I think this particular piece of legislation is well put together and long overdue.

On a more general note. A number of people in this Assembly have addressed themselves to a current issue of public policy in this Province, and that has to do with a particular site in Long Harbour that is under consideration by a company for the importation and burning of garbage from overseas. I am also reminded of when I worked for the government some, I guess probably ten years or more ago, in the early years of the Peckford administration. There was in Labrador a mining venture proposed to be started that my friend for Torngat Mountains made reference to a few moments ago. The uranium development in the Kitts-Michelin area. That BRINEX company at the time, certain corporate interests were really pushing very hard.

The government of the day, sort of I guess tuning in to a growing awareness of environmental concerns in North America generally, took a long, hard look at that particular proposal, and in the end decided no, they weren't going to go with it. For reasons over and above the environmental protection act, the (inaudible) act that was in place at the time. It was decided as a matter of public policy that uranium mining, whether it passed the environmental standards or not, was not the sort of mineral activity that this Province wished to get into. It was on that basis that the particular mine was refused a permit to develop.

Similarly, given the state of our renewable resources, and given the potential we have with regard to tourism, I think it is a fundamental error on the part of this government or any government that would be in power, not to, based on a fundamental public policy consideration, to just say: this is not the sort of industry we wish in this Province. It's probably not good for our health. Even if current standards with regard to health are met in any technology employed there, the damage that this thing could do vis--vis its image to our tourism industry - which is one of our larger and one of our growth industries - would be irreparable. I do not believe that this is the sort of industrial development that this sort of jurisdiction should be pursuing. The same as I think the former, former government of Premier Peckford was correct in saying that uranium mining was not the sort of mineral activity that the people of this Province should be pursuing.

The government has said that they really don't know what public opinion on this matter is. I find that very difficult to believe, because I know, I would assume, that the government is well tuned in as to what pollsters are saying on many issue, and environment is always an issue on polls these days. So no doubt the government has a very good idea what the general public thinks of this particular matter. If one has ears to hear and eyes to see, I guess you can listen to the media. It's very obvious what the general public thinks of this particular venture with regard to its environmental impact. People don't want this kind of industry.

It may be that certain people in and around the immediate site want it because of the devastation wreaked upon them by the shutting down of the phosphorus plant at Long Harbour. But the body politic in general Province-wide I would think has spoken fairly clearly, that this is not the sort of industry that we want. I think considerations for the larger picture of our Province's development would indicate that this is not the kind of industry that we should be pursuing.

For some reason this particular government appears to be putting its head in the sand and proceeding on, a slave to the environmental process. It could stop this before it gets started but it seems to be wanting to go through the process similar to the way they handled the amalgamation issue. Once they kicked off the issue they appeared to be an absolute slave to the process. Perhaps that bespeaks the mind-set of the current leader of this government, Premier Wells, in that being a lawyer and with a legalistic mind-set he has a tendency to be hung up on process.

Process for process sake is fine for the people who make their living down on Duckworth Street who hang out in and around the Supreme Court arguing legal niceties, but I think with regard to this matter, greater considerations of environmental protection, considerations of health for our people, and considerations of an industrial nature with regard to the type of industrial development we need to have in our future, particularly as it impacts on the tourism industry. These considerations, I think, should be overwhelming. Why we would feel compelled to subject this particular project which, generally speaking, the public has spoken fairly clearly on and against, I do not know why this particular government seems to be hung up on the process here.

The Premier, when we were going through the referendum debates, the two debates that we had in this House; on Meech Lake the Premier condemned that roundly, partly because of the content of the agreement but partly because the public were not widely enough consulted. There had not been a referendum, et cetera. We just went through a more recent process with regard to the constitution, and we had a referendum and the people spoke. The Premier was also quite proud of the fact that Newfoundlanders voted 'yes' in support of his position on the referendum.

Obviously the man is very much committed to the idea of sounding public opinion, and going with public opinion on major public policy issues. Yet, in this particular proposed development it is obvious to all but the blind and the deaf, and only those being blind and deaf who refuse to hear and see, that the people do not want this type of industrial development. It is about time that the government made a fundamental policy decision and said: No, thank you... to this sort of thing, and got on with doing the sort of thing that our people can support and that would stand us well in the future.

Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

MR. SPEAKER: The hon. the Member for Ferryland.

MR. SULLIVAN: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

MR. SULLIVAN: I support Bill 20. I agree with the increase to $500,000; however, in many instances it is not the level of fine that is going to be the significant factor, I think, in cleaning up our environment. Granted, the high fine will be a deterrent to some major industries in certain select areas of the Province.

The biggest concern to me is that mechanisms must be put in place to ensure that the environment is not polluted all across this Province - not only where there are major industries, but in every single community. I think it is very sad to drive through communities and see the roadsides littered with garbage.

I have served for the past seventeen years as a Justice of the Peace, and I have signed thousands of summons and informations, and numerous items to go before the courts, and I cannot recall one particular item to deal with throwing garbage out of cars, or polluting; garbage trucks dropping garbage bags and continuing to drive on and not stop to pick it up.

There is garbage all over the environment, and we are here trying to create a Province where it is going to be enticing to tourism, and to have people come here and find a nice, clean environment.

I have visited every Province in Canada on numerous occasions, and spent hundreds of days actually in different Provinces of Canada. I have seen it in Alberta, and I have seen it in P.E.I., and I have seen it in just about every other province across this country - the environment is clean. The roadsides are not littered. The small, little rural communities are not littered.

Here in this Province, and I see it in my own district - I can drive through my district and you would not put in ten tandem trucks the garbage that could be found along the roadsides. It is not possible to do it. We started a drive at the school to clean up garbage each spring. We get 600 bags of garbage in three hours, which the students pick up within a ten or fifteen mile distance. Back next Spring it is just as bad again.

People throw out beer boxes now because I guess drinking and driving, and having beer in a car is a problem, so they litter it with bottles to get it out of the car. They throw out the cases. Boxes of chicken. It's happening. I'm sure it's not only in my district, I've seen it elsewhere. It's just utterly disgusting. I think something must be done to improve our environment. It's the little things that are going to affect tourism.

Granted, the Long Harbour thing, it's not very pleasant to have a site there, but it is not going to be as detrimental to tourism in this Province as looking at every single little community across this Province and drive down the streets and see it polluted and -

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. SULLIVAN: Yes. I think that's what we have to do, and I think there's a mechanism in place within the authority of the law to do something about it, and I think it's all these little cases that should be addressed. I think it's about time we started doing that. The hon. Minister of Environment could pursue and pressure the people to start enforcing these particular areas that are more detrimental to our livelihood here than a few major industries scattered in certain parts of the Province.

I'd like to comment also on the incinerator. It's not the principle of incineration that's posing a problem. I think it's the importation of garbage for the purpose of incineration. In my district there are numerous landfill sites that are in very poor shape. There needs to be improvement. I know the scientific evidence to show positive aspects of incineration and there certainly have been documented cases. I've read documented cases of incineration where it's proving to be very successful. I think we have to concentrate, if we're going to direct funds. I don't disagree with a million dollars for funding, not for the importation, but to assess our long-term needs in terms of the environment and landfill sites and garbage, where we're going to be in ten or fifteen years. Maybe a regional incinerator might be necessary in the future.

I think we should worry about our own garbage here in this Province and try to put in place things to deal with our garbage, and let people in the US worry about their garbage. We'll complain about it if it affects us, but I don't think we should be responsible to spend money, time and effort worrying about what happens there. Their garbage should stay in the US and our garbage should be disposed of in a proper and decent manner that doesn't affect the environment.

I think that's where our focus should be now. Time will probably show that over the next number of years, increasing this from $2,000 to $500,000 will not impact upon very many industries in this Province. It won't impact upon very many people. Granted I'll agree with it, and I think it's necessary to increase it, but I don't think we're getting at the real problem, and I'd ask the hon. minister to pursue that and to make sure that we address the real problems here of waste disposal in this Province. Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

MR. SPEAKER: The hon. the Member for St. Mary's - The Capes.

MR. HEARN: Thank you very much, Mr. Speaker. I certainly also stand in support of the Bill. It's very similar to Bill 42 actually, both of which deal with a similar topic - concerns about garbage disposal and increasing the fines to act as a deterrent.

I agree with my colleague for Ferryland when he says: I'm not sure if the fine will do the job. Hopefully it will be an incentive. I think basically we have to find some way of addressing the problem of catching those who do litter. All of us see it, day-in and day-out, and I suppose we're all guilty to a great degree. What troubles me sometimes when I drive - listening to our open line shows, and we get people calling in complaining about the garbage on the sides of the road - the beer and pop bottles and the chip containers and everything else. They will always say: the government should do something about cleaning it up. The very people who are calling in complaining, asking any government to spend money to clean up the environment, are the very ones who are throwing the objects out of the car windows.

MS. COWAN: It's a people problem.

MR. HEARN: It's a people problem, and it's an education problem, I suppose, that has to be addressed, perhaps in the schools. Now I must say, in recent years, in certain areas of the Province, I see a complete change in attitude towards throwing stuff from cars.

MR. WINSOR: Once a year.

MR. HEARN: No. The Member for Fogo says once a year. In certain areas yes, when you get environment week or whatever, but you do have a few schools that during the year are extremely concerned with environmental conditions and who do - within the school the teachers are heavily involved and the students themselves within the school - heavily promote a cleaner environment. Also that carries over to the home and community. The blue boxes that the minister talked about a few days ago will be found in certain areas of the province where they do have them around to collect the garbage.

The other concern is the throwing out of garbage, or the disposal of - the throwing away of garbage. I won't say disposal. Disposal of it by the people involved, I suppose - not only is a problem along the sides of the roads, it is also a problem inside our parks. It is a problem in the wilderness areas where people now, because of the use of all-terrain vehicles, more so than anything else, go for long journeys into the woods and carry with them all kinds of goodies for their picnics and their camp outs and whatever else, and instead of going in and enjoying themselves, packing everything up and bringing it out again or burying the cans and bottles and whatever, quite often we see everything just left and thrown in among the trees and destroying areas which for years weren't even trespassed by man until he found easy access there by using all-terrain vehicles. So even though the all-terrain vehicle isn't something that we are concerned with in this bill, it is a problem for the minister's department and certainly it ties into all this because of our use of such vehicles that we are enabled to go into the wilderness areas and also litter and destroy these areas, not only by tearing them up, but by bringing in our garbage and leaving it around.

I saw some slides recently shown by an employee of the minister's department whereby they showed certain parts of our province, how peaceful, beautiful, clean and well kept they were. Then they showed the same areas shortly after some people started to frequent the area on their all-terrain vehicles. Not only was the natural environment disturbed and torn up, but scattered all over the place we had garbage, garbage bags, garbage containers of different kinds, beer bottles scattered around, empty beer cases.

I think the one slide that impressed me most showed a small pond, and the comment was made: the place you would like to take your family fishing. Then another slide was shown after the family had gone fishing and all the garbage was left around. Sometimes when people see stuff like that, I think it impresses upon them what we are doing to our environment. I would suggest to the minister that she has within her department some exceptionally good employees who are spreading the message and doing a very good job. I encourage her to try to get them out to meet with different community groups and get them into the schools in particular.

I might have mentioned this before in the House sometime last year. I attended a meeting of a Regional Development Association where you had a lot of people from a large area involved. The representative of the minister's department was there and did a slide presentation on this very topic, and, I must say, impressed everyone there with the - it was reality hitting you right in the face. It was in an area where all-terrain vehicles are used widely and indiscriminately also. When he came to the part where he wanted to talk about the effect of the all-terrain vehicle, he didn't say a word, he just flashed slide after slide and you just saw marshes, bogs, and everything just torn to bits by the bikes. You could hear a pin drop in the crowd even though most of them were owners of the all-terrain vehicles. Afterwards it was amazing to go around and talk to people, and for the first time reality seemed to hit them that we are contributing to destroying the beautiful environment that we have.

The Member for Ferryland mentioned the tremendous tourist potential we have in this province, and he is right. Our difficulties, of course, of being far away from the major marketplaces and the cost of getting here if people decide to come and visit, are all problems that we face. But as people look for the new frontiers there are not many of them left. Certainly in Newfoundland there are a lot of people who just like peace, tranquillity, natural beauty and wildlife, and we have it all. We have it all within a few miles of the capital city. We can leave here this evening and within three or four hours we see such a variety of beaches, the ocean crashing on the rocks, peaceful harbours to barren areas, to wooded areas, to wildlife of all sorts, birds of all kind, our caribou herd on the Avalon here, moose, and we can go on and on. All of that is here for us to see and enjoy every single day. Those who have come and have seen what we have are so impressed. But we ourselves, instead of taking advantage of that and trying to preserve it and beautify it, are out there trying to destroy it. It is a problem for all of us. I guess it is like the fishery. I mean, who thought ten or fifteen years ago that there would be a major problem with the fishery. It was: Go catch it! Lots for everybody!

AN HON. MEMBER: Dump it on Water Street.

MR. HEARN: That is right, on Atlantic Place.

Now it is entirely different. I don't think there is a fisherman or a fisherperson in the Province today who is not very much aware of the fishery, of the concerns with the fishery and of the need to conserve. Perhaps if we could somehow shock the residents of this beautiful Province of ours into realizing that it is only beautiful because we keep it so, we might be able to keep them from throwing away the garbage and doing the other things that are destroying our total environment.

So, Mr. Speaker, I certainly support the bill. I think anything we can do to create an awareness of the situation that presently exists, will be to the benefit of us and our children. It is unfortunate that we have to say to people that we are going to fine you exorbitant amounts of money for destroying your environment, for throwing out your garbage and for not being careful. We shouldn't have to do that. We should just be able to create an awareness and they should be doing these things themselves. But that is the way it is, I guess. Mr. Speaker, hopefully an awareness will be created and, if we all do our part, we can preserve this beautiful Province we have.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!

MR. SPEAKER: The hon. the Member for Kilbride.

MR. R. AYLWARD: Thank you very much, Mr. Speaker.

AN HON. MEMBER: Haven't you already spoken on this?

MR. R. AYLWARD: Yes, I think so.

MR. ROBERTS: He hasn't said anything.

MR. R. AYLWARD: I didn't get it all off my chest the last time, so he is going to let me do it again. I still haven't said anything. (Inaudible)?

MR. ROBERTS: (Inaudible).

MR. R. AYLWARD: Well, you can listen away this time. Anyone willing to call it five o'clock, by the way?

Mr. Speaker, I have listened to many of the people who spoke today. I am surprised there is only one on the other side who had an interest in the environment. I congratulate the Member for St. John's South for getting up and presenting his views on this. I am surprised more of the members over there haven't -

MR. DOYLE: In other words, the minister has no interest in the environment.

MS. COWAN: We are trying to create time for some of the other excellent environmental issues that are coming forward.

MR. DOYLE: The Minister of Tourism should be the first one on his feet talking about the environment. Why hasn't he spoken in this debate?

MR. WALSH: (Inaudible).

MR. DOYLE: I see. So we can look forward to your remarks.

MR. SPEAKER: The hon. the Member for Kilbride.

MR. R. AYLWARD: Thank you very much, Mr. Speaker.

I thought it might be the Minister of Tourism or someone else who had the floor.

Mr. Speaker, I support this bill, as almost everyone else does. As I was saying, I do congratulate the Member for St. John's South for getting on his feet and speaking to this bill, because I think it is important. I am surprised the Member for Pleasantville has not been on his feet speaking on, if not necessarily this bill, the issue of waste material disposal in this area, because his district is very close to the major waste disposal problem that we have in this section of the Province, called Robin Hood Bay. His district is pretty well affected by that. It depends on which way the wind is blowing. I am surprised he wasn't up giving some of his great ideas on waste disposal and fines and what we should be doing for the environment.

He jumps to his feet pretty quickly when it comes to constitutional stuff, but when something means something to his constituents, something is very important to his constituents, unlike the Member for St. John's South, he doesn't stand up, and I find that strange. And there are other people - there is another person in this Legislature who was at one time extremely interested in the environment, that is, the Member for Lewisporte. He was always very interested in environmental issues. I remember hearing of him before he entered this House of Assembly, when he stood up and spoke quite forcefully on the spray programs, I believe, at the time, and other environmental issues. He had involvement with the Rod and Gun Club near the Lewisporte area, and I am surprised that he hasn't been on his feet espousing some of the solutions we might consider.

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

The hon. the Minister of Finance, on a point of order.

MR. BAKER: Thank you very much, Mr. Speaker.

Earlier today, Sir, we experienced a lecture from the Chair in terms of relevance and so on, and since these particular bills are on second reading, the material should be relevant to the particular bill. I understand that the member presently speaking probably may have difficulty being relevant because he probably does not know very much about the environment, but I would like to point out to Your Honour, that so far, not a single thing he has said has been relevant to the content of the bill.

MR. SPEAKER: Yes. To that point of order, the Minister of Finance is quite right. The Chair had earlier brought to the attention of all hon. members, the necessity of being relevant in the debate on second reading, as we are dealing with the principles of the bill. I ask hon. members to confine their remarks to the principle of the bills involved.

The hon. the Member for Kilbride.

MR. R. AYLWARD: Thank you very much, Mr. Speaker.

I agree wholeheartedly with both people and I know that I was being very relevant because I was asking the Member for Lewisporte to get up and give us his thoughts and views on this very Act, Bill 20, "The Waste Material Disposal Act". How much more relevant can you be than that? I asked the Member for Pleasantville if he would get up and give us the advantage of his knowledge on this Bill No. 20, "An Act To Amend The Waste Material Disposal Act".

I note that the Speaker didn't say I was being irrelevant so I don't understand why the President of Treasury Board or the Minister of Finance, would want to interrupt my speech when I was just congratulating the Member for Lewisporte for his involvement in environmental issues in the past, although I can't understand why he has so suddenly become quiet and hushed up -

MR. DOYLE: He will never get into Cabinet that way.

MR. R. AYLWARD: - and can't get to his feet and speak on the environmental issue.

This is one of the first opportunities we have had in the last year or so to have a good discussion on the environmental issue, certainly one of the most important issues in the Province. It doesn't show up in the polls, by the way. It never shows up in polls as being a very hot issue. When you do a poll in this Province, the number one is always the economy and jobs, number one by a long shot, and all the other issues are minor issues according to that poll. But that does not mean that the environment is any less important to this Province, and as leaders of the Province, we have to deal with it, whether the polls show it is an important issue or not. We certainly all know in this Province that the environment is a major issue.

Now, Mr. Speaker, if we are going to impose fines, as this Act says, up to $500,000 to get the environment cleaned up - I don't think fines are the problem. Certainly, you could put $10 million there if you wanted to, it is not the fine that is the problem, it is the enforcement. You have to enforce the regulations that you have in place and you can call whatever fines you like, as much as you like, but if you don't enforce the rules and regulations, it doesn't matter what fines you have - and yes, whoever wrote the note, yes, I was being quite relevant. I was speaking garbage yesterday. I think the Member for St. John's South might have said it.

That is good, but we are speaking about garbage. People like to fancy it up a bit now and call it waste disposal and waste management and all kinds of fancy names, but we are talking garbage - dirt, filth, throw-out stuff, things that we don't want anymore. That is generally what we are talking about. And we are going to increase the fines for people who are convicted of polluting our environment.

Now, Mr. Speaker, if we have to wait as long for this minister to start dealing with some of the major issues that are affecting our environment, if we have to wait as long for those important issues as we have waited to get the blue boxes put in this place, we are never going to get anywhere. I think, at least a week ago, someone asked permission to put blue boxes in this House of Assembly. I don't know if we were to have one each or what but, Mr. Speaker, I haven't seen them yet.

MR. MATTHEWS: She is getting them printed.

MR. R. AYLWARD: But, Mr. Speaker, I haven't seen them yet. That is a simple task.

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. R. AYLWARD: Yes, I got permission. Yes, put them in there tomorrow morning. If you are in business and you wanted to do something, and you needed permission, and somebody gave you permission, do it. Then it is finished, it is over with.

MS. COWAN: (Inaudible).

MR. R. AYLWARD: Mr. Speaker, we are a week waiting for a blue box. I believe what happened was when the Leader of the Opposition made the point that they were blue, and we would love to see the blue boxes here, I think the Premier wanted them changed again like he wanted his office renovated. He wanted them changed somehow to not reflect the blue boxes, he might have wanted to change them to bamboo, or he might have wanted to change them to some kind of oak color. I will make a suggestion to the Premier, too, Mr. Speaker, that over the last month, he could have helped keep our environment clean by not adding to the waste disposal problem that we have in this Province. He didn't have to tear down his whole oak ceiling.

MR. MATTHEWS: Tear down the oak?

MR. R. AYLWARD: He didn't have to tear that down and throw it in the garbage, Mr. Speaker. It is a very valuable product. But if he had to take down the ceiling, if there was a problem with lighting in the room - and I was in the room lots of times and didn't see the problem - he could open the curtains there. There are lots of curtains. But even in the nighttime - if he had to tear the ceiling down because there were no lights there, sure go up to Canadian Tire, and for $20 apiece you could buy a couple of lamps and put them on your desk.

MR. MATTHEWS: And you know that boardroom, there is no trouble to get twelve people in there.

MR. R. AYLWARD: Oh, yes. I was in that boardroom.

MR. MATTHEWS: You could only get two in there he said.

MR. R. AYLWARD: I must say I was never in that boardroom while Premier Peckford or Premier Rideout were there, but I was in it with Premier Wells.

MR. MATTHEWS: I was there with Premier Wells.

MR. R. AYLWARD: I was up there with Premier Wells, and it might have been the same time, Mr. Simms was with us, or Mr. Rideout.

I was in that boardroom, Mr. Speaker, that is going to have $3,000 apiece chairs from now on. The Premier could have helped our waste management problem in this Province, Mr. Speaker. If there were holes in the chairs that he wants replaced at $3,000 a chair, let him get them refinished. That helps with waste management. You don't just throw them out. Those days are gone. You don't create garbage. What you do is try to refinish the chairs if there are holes in them, but they have only been there four or five years. I don't know who wore them out. When I was up there two years ago the chairs were perfect. I don't know who has been sitting in them.

MR. SPEAKER: Order, please!

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. R. AYLWARD: Phil who?

AN HON. MEMBER: Phil (inaudible).

MR. R. AYLWARD: Yes, I was in his home in Calgary, I was in his office in Calgary, I was in the office he had in Mount Pearl, and I was in the Sprung greenhouses. Mr. Speaker, I tell you now, rather than trying to create garbage there, what he tried to do with his waste products, the leaves of the plants and all this kind of stuff, he was feeding them to cows. Now, it came on television that he was feeding cucumbers to cows, but he was trying to help our waste disposal problem in this Province. Oh, the Opposition at the time, it was a big deal. They wanted them to - No, don't give them to the cows. Take them and throw it down the dump where we throw everything else, where the Premier throws his oak ceilings, where he tears down perfectly good, useable oak ceiling. That stuff is about $10 a foot. I mean, that is expensive stuff. I was going to do cupboards in oak but I couldn't afford it. He could tear it down and throw it in the garbage, and I can't afford to put in oak cupboards that my wife would like to have in my home.

Now, there is another thing that I didn't mention all day today. There was a perfectly good counter in that office space. There was a good counter top. I think it might be a place where you make coffee and stuff like that, but there was useable space there. He didn't have to tear it up and throw it out. The Minister of Works, Services and Transportation didn't have to give the order to get rid of that because King Clyde don't like that, and bring in a $100 a foot table top. It must be made out of teak, I guess. It can't be oak because he doesn't like oak. He just threw away a whole office full of oak. He took out the baseboards, as far as I know, the trims around the door. He took out the ceiling because it was all put there by Peckford, most likely. I don't see how anyone couldn't like oak. People are dying to have oak put into their homes and their doors. They can't afford it. The doorknobs up there, certainly the hardware on the doors had to be - I mean, you can't wear it out. You don't use the doors that much. The Premier of this Province doesn't need brass doorknobs and brass hinges. He doesn't need $600 hardware for a door. I mean, it is just not practical in this Province of Newfoundland for two reasons: We can't afford to spend the money, Mr. Speaker, and we don't have the disposal area to be throwing the other stuff into it. Robin Hood Bay doesn't want that type of garbage out there and I hope someone goes out and salvages it. I hope someone can find what garbage truck is going to go there. I might be out rooting around that thing out there today, that garbage dumpster. I can see it from my office and if I see anything shiny going in there, I am down there in a minute, I will haul it out, I will help save the environment; if I have to build another cabin, I will even do that; I will save the wood that the Premier is taking out. No, that oak that he tore off the ceiling, I couldn't possibly put that up in my cabin. It would be scandalous for me to put that in my cabin, but I would try to make some kind of a countertop or do something in my home that would make it pretty good.

AN HON. MEMBER: Tom could use it in his cabin down in Tors Cove.


MR. R. AYLWARD: I will never mind who I have to move away in the dumpster, as long as they are trying to help preserve something or keep something from being thrown out in the garbage. We should recycle. There are stores in parts of Canada now, that if you haul your baseboards off your walls like the Premier did up there, and you take the casings around from the door and you replace the doors, you can bring that stuff to them and they will stack it up just like a regular lumberyard and then they will reuse it. So if it is not good enough for the Premier, if that oak ceiling and those brass door knobs or whatever were up there before and the wallpaper that was ever there, whatever wallpaper he needed, $70,000 more of it, well, Mr. Speaker, if you could have saved that and we had those types of stores in Newfoundland that you could bring it to, they would resell it. I mean, it is a regular business. They reuse hardware and they reuse lumber and certainly, I am sure they would kill to get that oak. If they could get that oak that is being thrown out, they would make a fortune on it. Because the Premier didn't want it, they would get it for nothing if they were down in the dumpster or wherever it was going.

But that will be hauled away sometime in the middle of the night. It will be taken out from up there and hauled out under the dark of night and the secrecy of night and they will put it in some dump truck and eventually into a closed container because you wouldn't want anyone to see it being hauled there like the MCP records or anything like that. This would be more important now, I would say, than the MCP records. Well, Mr. Speaker, they will put it in a closed container and get it down to the dump and they will go to the farthest corner of the dump to make sure that the guy down in Robin Hood Bay, in that little house that is down there doesn't see it.

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. R. AYLWARD: Albert Stanley, I know him, he is a buddy of mine. He lives in Kilbride. And there is another little house there down where you dump, but this fellow is going to have to haul it right over in the corner as far away as he can so that when this beautiful oak starts slipping out and this countertop that was torn down and the frames of the doors and the baseboards and all that nice decorative stuff that was up in the Premier's office is thrown out. Make sure nobody sees it. Then what he is going to do, he is probably going to line up the bulldozer operator right away and bury it, get rid of it as fast as he can so that nobody will see the scandalous thing that is happening in our Province.

He won't be fined for throwing it in unwanted places because he will throw it in some place that it can be hidden right away. Now if he went up to Shea Heights on the hill, where a lot of people are unfortunately dumping their garbage, and threw it away, well then we would have a good crack at him because we would be able to charge him another $500,000 then, besides what he is spending on the eighth floor. If he went somewhere like Cochrane Pond Road, which is a big problem as regards people dumping garbage - that access road that goes along by the Arterial between Kilbride, a big problem up there in - now if he went to one of those places to dispose of this beautiful oak, doors and the regular door knobs instead of the new brass ones that he got, then we could get him again. We could get him somewhere between a $2,000 and a $5,000 fine, a $500,000 fine. But he would probably pay the $500,000 fine because he is this grandiose type of fellow. He wouldn't settle for the $2,000 fine. He would want the big deal, and then he would want the tax payers of Newfoundland to pay the $500,000.

Well, Mr. Speaker, the problem with the whole waste management problem in our Province is not the amount of fines, the problem is enforcing, enforcing regulations that should be put in place by now of ATV's, which are destroying our country. That is just as big a problem as someone throwing a beer bottle out the window. ATV's are making a bigger mess. At least when you throw a beer bottle out the window, someone can walk along the road and pick it up, but when you go in the middle of the Horse Chops where you are not supposed to be in the first place - you have all the regulations in the world telling you not to be in there on ATV's - or snowmobiles - but they don't do quite as much damage. When you fall off them you have to be careful. But, Mr. Speaker, the trikes and the quads are the biggest problem I see. The J5's used to do it for the power lines. That is the problem we have in our environment. ATV's are tearing up our country. We have the regulations to stop this, but nobody wants to enforce them.

I am fortunate enough to have a cabin on the southern shore in Cape Broyle, and when I go up there I pass by two disposal sites. Now I don't know if this rule is going to affect it or not, but they have local waste management committees looking after it, and they have local managers for the dump sites as far as I know. I noticed some advertisement in the paper there about it last fall, asking for people to put in bids on managing the waste disposal area. A couple of them, one in Cape Broyle for sure.

I'm not sure if this local management team - if that's what's in place now - or the local person who's running this waste management site would be responsible for all the garbage that's dumped by the gate. Is it possible now that some inspector from the Department of Environment might drive up to the southern shore one day and see all this garbage that's thrown out around the gate? Because the gate has to be locked when nobody is in there. Somebody throws the garbage close to the gate. Is it possible now that the volunteers who manage this waste disposal site could be charged for creating the litter around the gate? Or for not having it cleaned up?

It's not their fault. They didn't throw it there. Someone else, some inconsiderate person, threw it. Is it possible that some environment inspector might one day drive by there and see this mess, say: so-and-so is the manager of this garbage, let's put charges against him, and see what fine we'll get. See if the $2,000 to $500,000 fines will take place. I don't know. I hope the minister can answer that.

MS. COWAN: (Inaudible).

MR. R. AYLWARD: I hope the minister can answer - can you charge them, is what I'm saying. Your department charge them. The judge will make all those decisions when the time comes. Can your inspector look at the volunteers who are running the waste disposal site and charge them for having a mess around the gate that they didn't do, but they are responsible for it? The same as Kruger is responsible for pumping everything out into Humber Arm, and Come By Chance.

Talk about irony. We have a minister here today who wants to increase fines from $2,000 to $500,000. Mr. Speaker, I heard this only this summer on the radio. Either the mayor of Come By Chance or the mayor of Sunnyside pleading with the Minister of Environment to have someone go out and check the effluent or the air quality that's coming out of Come By Chance. That person was pleading with the minister to send out someone to check what's coming out of that smokestack. People were not feeling well, they were feeling a bit sick. They thought it might have been some of the effluent that's coming out of the smokestack from the oil refinery.

What did the minister say? What did our Newfoundland provincial Environment Minister say to that person who wanted to have this stuff inspected to see what was coming out of it? She said: no, that's alright, Come By Chance people themselves are looking after that. They tell us that it's okay. We don't know. Our department doesn't know. But the people who manage Come By Chance oil refinery, they tell us: oh, that's fine. Now what else are they going to tell you? Are they going to tell you they're killing people down in Sunnyside? Or are they going to tell you they're filling up the lungs of people in Come By Chance? Of course not! You should have had someone out there the next day and check what was coming out of that site. Because the word I had from Come By Chance before it closed down, Mr. Speaker, from people who were -

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. R. AYLWARD: Yes, Come By Chance oil refinery. The word I had from out there, from the people who worked there, is that they were in such financial difficulty, Mr. Speaker, that there was no maintenance being done at Come By Chance. They couldn't afford to do the maintenance and it was a time bomb waiting to happen. If that's the case, whatever was coming out of that smokestack the Minister of Environment never knew.

SOME HON. MEMBERS: (Inaudible).

MR. R. AYLWARD: Yes, maybe they were worried about Tom Hickman's court case or something. I don't know what the problem with it is. They were not doing the maintenance on the plant so they did not know what was coming out of the smokestack. Our Minister of Environment, who looks after our interests in the Province of Newfoundland, told us that it's okay because Newfoundland Refinery are checking that every day and there's no problem out there.

Mr. Speaker, I adjourn the debate.

MR. SPEAKER: The hon. the Government House Leader and Minister of Justice.

MR. ROBERTS: Mr. Speaker, it's 4:57 p.m. Rather than call another order perhaps I may be permitted to move the adjournment of the debate -

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. ROBERTS: No, that's what I was going to say. My hon. friend moved the adjournment of the debate. I won't call another order. May I move that the House at its rising do adjourn until Thursday, at 2:00 p.m.? For the assistance of hon. gentlemen and the hon. lady present in the House, we shall be calling the Workers' Compensation amendments on Thursday for discussion and debate. No doubt they'll take perhaps half an hour, an hour, to put through the House.

Let me say as well, I know I speak on behalf of all members of the House on both sides, Mr. Speaker, when I note that tomorrow is the anniversary of the eleventh hour of the eleventh day of the eleventh month, the anniversary of the Armistice and end of the first World War.

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. ROBERTS: I'm glad. I appreciate it's very important to the hon. gentleman, and even more important to his wife, and I accept that. But what I wish to record I'm sure on behalf of all members Sir, is the recognition of the House of this moment in our history, the fact that we are commemorating the end of the first World War, and in so doing remembering all of those who served and above all, all of those who paid, I think the phrase is, the supreme sacrifice.

AN HON. MEMBER: (Inaudible).

MR. ROBERTS: My hon. friend says it's wrong. Tomorrow is Remembrance Day, it's no longer Armistice Day, it's Remembrance Day, and it's the anniversary of the Armistice.

On motion, the House at its rising adjourned until tomorrow, Thursday, at 2:00 p.m.